Hope in His Presence

The one who lives under the protection of the Most High
dwells in the shadow of the Almighty. 
I will say to the Lord,
‘My refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.’
He will cover you with His feathers;
you will take refuge under His wings. 
His faithfulness will be a protective shield.
Psalm 91:1-2,4 HCSB

I have two courageous children.  They are confident in a way that sometimes leads to danger, and yet as their mother, I am thankful for this naiveté. My kids don’t go running away from bugs – this absence of fear is how we discovered a severe allergy to bees.  Lucas has no fear of heights.  We frequently find him sitting on the wood beams in his room, having used only the doorframe to get up.  Bethany is totally unselfconscious.  She will sing off key, at the top of her lungs, no matter who is around, and assume everyone wants to hear her.  They can go wild with energy, and while my personality anticipates the worst thing that could happen as a result of their behavior, they do not fear.  We were once told that they are so willing to take risks and are able to express their feelings to us so clearly, because they are totally at ease and comfortable with Matt and I — they know what to expect, and while I wish that they would heed my warnings, I am glad that they do not struggle with fear.

As I’ve thought about hope, I’ve realized that it is easy to hope and trust when we know what to expect.

When Lucas and Bethany watched an unfortunate version of The Cat in the Hat, we saw the first glimpse of fear in our kids.  The cat would show up in unexpected places at unexpected times and as a result the kids were scared to go into another room alone, for fear that the cat would show up in their home. Uncertainty bred fear in my children.

As I read the story of Ruth today, I noticed Ruth’s resolve to go with Naomi to a land she did not know — she seemingly had no fear.  Ruth came to know, trust and love Naomi, and while she was unfamiliar with Bethlehem and its people, she knew her mother-in-law.

Do not persuade me to leave you or go back and not follow you.
For wherever you go, I will go,
and wherever you live, I will live;
your people will be my people, and your God will be my God.
(Ruth 1:16)

When we look at our circumstances, it is difficult to hold on to hope.  We become discouraged and doubt that things will ever be better than our present reality. The unexpected bumps in the road make it difficult to trust and to hope.  That is why our hope cannot be in the temporal.  Our hope must be in His presence.

Even when Ruth did not know how she would gather enough food to eat, there was one who knew her, her circumstances and her faithfulness (Ruth 2:11-12).  Like Boaz knew and protected Ruth, you are known … your situation is understood … though your mind sometimes doubts, your trusting heart is seen.  You are valued by One, more than you could ever imagine, and you can count on that.

Today as you go through the busy-ness of the season, rather than becoming discouraged by all that needs to be done, instead of becoming overwhelmed with feelings of anxiety, when you feel like you have nothing to place your hope in, remember that He is with you, gently guiding you throughout your day.  He came that first Christmas to bring peace to the world and He is coming again, but as we wait in expectation, He is here.  Emanuel – the God that is with us and our hope is in His presence.

 
I have told you these things so that in Me you may have peace.  
You will have suffering in this world.  
Be courageous! I have conquered the world.
(John 16:33)

Scripture: Ruth 1-2

 

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