Hope in the Waiting

 
“I would have been without hope if I had not believed that I would see the loving-kindness of the Lord in the land of the living.  Wait for the Lord.  Be strong.  Let your heart be strong. Yes, wait for the Lord.”
 Psalm 27:13-14 (NLV) 

I spent my childhood moving across Canada and the United States.  My Dad was a pastor and from birth until I married, I started over every two to three years.  It was not the life my parents envisioned for their family, nowhere near ideal, and yet whether through the influence of men or the Call of God, we were modern day nomads.  Going to seventeen schools is part of my story. I look back on my life, and there was a lot of pain in the leaving, but I would not change a thing.  

Uncertainty taught me the importance of a personal faith and relationship with a God who is undaunted by our questions and sympathizes with our weaknesses.  Hard endings and new beginnings forever sealed in me the necessity of family, whether that which we were born into, or those we make our own. 
 
There are few stories in the Bible that resonate with me deeper than Ruth, a young woman who chooses to go to a land not her own. She’d lost everything; her husband – and with his death her vitality, her acceptance in society, as a penniless outsider – a despised widow.  Yet she remains faithful to her family in all circumstances, no matter the cost. She leaves her home, her traditions and religion.
 
I love that she is patient and persistently hopeful as she gathers and trusts.  Boaz, a distant relative of her now-dead husband, becomes for her a redeemer. He takes her, as she is – poor. He removes her shame through marriage. He sustains her life and creates life with her.  This redeemer completely changes the course of her story.
 
God looks down on Ruth, once an alien, with no apparent reason to hope and he sees faithfulness. And what she cannot do for herself, he will do through her. As she has been redeemed by Boaz, so he will use her Descendant to redeem the world.
 
Ponder that … God saw Ruth’s faithfulness and through her brought redemption through the Hope of the world. 

Today I confess that I struggle with hope.  There are days when I hope to get a shower, to have a quiet moment to enjoy something I want to read.  In my house, it can get loud quickly with four young and very active kids, and I find myself hoping for an opportunity to call a friend without kids crying in the background.  I’ve hoped to make something of myself, and can often forsake the present with a longing for something different.  I struggle with wishing for the other side of the proverbial fence that is perpetually greener than the grass of my own life.  

During the holidays it is easy to focus on what needs to be done and what we don’t have — we can become consumed with the aches of Christmases past. We feel the void of loved ones who have passed on or with whom our relationship is not right.  Feelings of loneliness and inadequacy seem closer to the surface during this time of year.  It is easy to despair when our hope is placed in these lesser things.  This week, let’s trust in the God who bears the weight of our troubles; let’s place our hope in the Hope of the World.

“The nations will put their hope in His name.” 
Matthew 12:21 HCSB
 

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