CLINGING TO LIFE: WHAT DO YOU DO WHEN ALL HOPE IS LOST?

hang-on-

The Book of Ruth begins with a story about a woman named Naomi, whose family moved from their homeland (Bethlehem) to dwell temporarily in a foreign country (Moab) because of a famine.

While they were residing in Moab, Naomi’s husband dies. Her two sons choose to marry women from the area (Moabites). After ten years of marriage, and with no children, the two sons die. Because of the culture of that day, Naomi felt hopeless. No husband and no sons meant that she would have a very difficult time sustaining and supporting herself. She and her daughters-in-law would be in poverty.

Marriage was very important and vital for women who left the home of their parents. Also children and grandchildren were prize possessions to men and women at this time. There was some hope for Naomi if she could keep her daughters-in-law around; they could still find other husbands and take care of Naomi. But, Naomi shows care for them by telling them to return to their homes. She recognized that if they went back to their own people and didn’t have to worry about looking out for themselves and an old lady, they would have a greater chance at a prosperous future.

Naomi said to her two daughters-in-law, “Go, return each to her mother’s house. The Lord deal kindly with you, as you have dealt with the dead and with me. The Lord grant that you may find rest, each in the house of her husband.”

So she kissed them, and they lifted up their voices and wept. And they said to her, “Surely we will return with you to your people.”

But Naomi said, “Turn back, my daughters; why will you go with me? Are there still sons in my womb, that they may be your husbands? Turn back, my daughters, go—for I am too old to have a husband. If I should say I have hope, if I should have a husband tonight and should also bear sons, would you wait for them till they were grown? Would you restrain yourselves from having husbands? No, my daughters; for it grieves me very much for your sakes that the hand of the Lord has gone out against me!”

(The Book of Ruth 1:8-13 NKJV)


What do you do when you fully realize the situation that God has placed you in? What do you do when life gets tough and God allows people or things that you love to be taken away from you? What do you when the situation looks dire and your chances at a good future are dim? What do you when it looks like God has let you down?


Then they lifted up their voices and wept again; and Orpah kissed her mother-in-law, but Ruth clung to her. And she said, “Look, your sister-in-law has gone back to her people and to her gods; return after your sister-in-law.” 

(The Book of Ruth 1:14-15 NKJV)


Do you return to your old ways, your old habits and hobbies, your old lifestyle? Do you go back to how you used to be and the coping mechanisms you used to have? Do you go back to worshipping and relying on yourself or other things and people in your life? Is this how you respond when you face difficulty and you see how bad things really are? Is this what you do when all hope seems lost?

Or do you cling to your new love? 


…but Ruth clung to her. And she said, “Look, your sister-in-law has gone back to her people and to her gods; return after your sister-in-law.” 

But Ruth said:

“Entreat me not to leave you,

Or to turn back from following after you;

For wherever you go, I will go;

And wherever you lodge, I will lodge;

Your people shall be my people,

And your God, my God.

Where you die, I will die,

And there will I be buried.

The Lord do so to me, and more also,

If anything but death parts you and me.” 

(The Book of Ruth 1:16-17 NKJV)

Throughout the New Testament there are many exhortations to cling to the new hope we have in Christ. We’re told repeatedly that we should have joy in our tribulation because the trials of our faith are more precious than gold, and our faith must be tested. Through every test we gain patience and endurance unto perfection. God is in the business of strengthening our faith while the devil seeks to destroy it. Our job is to cling to Christ. Our job is to drop to our knees and cry out to our Savior. Our job is to trust and believe that He will make a way out of no way. We must be determined to cling to our new love!

We must also be a witness to others. As God is taking us through trials, our witness should be strong enough to encourage others to be ALL IN for Christ. Ruth was determined to be where Naomi was even if it meant forfeiting her future. Ruth saw something in Naomi and the new life she had. Likewise, the people around us should see something in us. So we must not suppress any part of our walk with Christ while it is day, for the night cometh, the trials are coming, the persecution is coming, and if our faith hasn’t been built up, if we don’t have the light within us, we will stumble in the dark, we will run back to sin, we will lose the fight and give in. And the people around us will die. Our response to Jesus today must be like Ruth’s. We must say to Jesus:

Entreat me not to leave you,
Or to turn back from following after you;
For wherever you go, I will go;
And wherever you lodge, I will lodge;
Your people shall be my people,
Where you die, I will die,
And there will I be buried.

We must be determined to follow our Lord, to be His disciples. We need to trust in Him. If we are following Him, He will surely deliver! He is surely delivering! We must believe and rest our hope entirely on Him!

My soul follows close behind You;

Your right hand upholds me. (Psalms 63:8)

(Read the rest of Naomi and Ruth’s story in the Book of Ruth)

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