“Return home, my daughters; I am too old to have another husband. Even if I thought there was still hope for me — even if I had a husband tonight and then gave birth to sons — would you wait until they grew up? Would you remain unmarried for them? No, my daughters. It is more bitter for me than for you, because the Lord’s hand has gone out against me!” — Ruth 1:12–13 (NIV84)
Today, we start a devotional series on hope. One might say these verses are strange ones with which to begin the series, but they are indicative of how true biblical hope works. Naomi had lost all hope. She and her husband and two sons had to move to Moab because of a famine that affected their land. While in Moab, Naomi’s husband died. Her sons married Moabite women and then the sons also died. Naomi was just done! She had lost all hope. She heard through the grapevine that the famine in Judah had ended and she and her daughters-in-law had started back toward Judah. Naomi stopped and told the younger women that they were free to go back to Moab. She released them from their marital commitment. She realized that she could not bear sons for them to marry. The one daughter-in-law left, but Ruth remained with Naomi. Ruth had become a believer in God and wanted to stay with Naomi. None of this changed the fact that Naomi went home hopeless.
But little did she know! Little did she know what God was doing in her life. Little did she know the plans He had for her future. They were not hopeless but hopeful! Her eyes of sight could not see beyond the despair of a famine, the loss of her husband and her two sons. But God had so much more in store. Ruth (a foreigner) would soon meet and marry Boaz and become a mother in the line of King David and King Jesus. Yes! Out of this hopeless and horrific story of loss and suffering, God provided a reason for hope. You see, God can see and plan beyond what our eyes can see. He can, and does, cause good to come from bad situations on a daily basis. In Jeremiah, the Lord says: “I know the plans I have for you. Plans to prosper you and not to harm you. Plans to give you hope and a future” (Jer. 29:11). By having faith in God who knows the hopeful plans He has for us, we can have hope in the most hopeless situations. If God can do what He did for Naomi and Ruth, imagine what He can do for you.
Let’s close our eyes of sight and open our eyes of faith, and let’s hold fast to the hope of what God has planned for us.