#086: What to do When the Future Seems Hopeless!

Have you ever faced a seemingly impossible situation? A time of desperation, when all seems lost, and the future seems hopeless? If so, you need to look no further than the example of Ruth for some very practical actions to take when all seems lost, and you have needs to be met.

Ruth

The book of Ruth is a wonderful story of God’s grace and His redemptive plan working in the lives of His wayward children. Naomi and her husband, Elimelech, left Bethlehem due to a famine and went to live in Moab, a gentile country. Their two sons married Moabite women, Orpah, and Ruth. Over the course of the next ten years, while living in Moab, Naomi’s husband died, as did her two sons. Daily life in a gentile country as a widowed Jewish woman caring for two gentile daughters-in-law would be a hopeless struggle for survival.

Naomi decides her prospects for survival are better back in Bethlehem so she plans a return trip to her homeland, but without Orpah and Ruth. Orpah agrees to stay with her people in Moab, but Ruth declares her loyalty to Naomi, vowing to stay with her until death. Ruth even pledges loyalty to the Jewish people and to God (1:16-17).

Naomi and Ruth, a Jew and a gentile, both widows, with no means of support arrive in Bethlehem just as the harvest season begins. Their situation must have seemed hopeless. As chapter 2 unfolds we learn that Naomi has a kinsmen redeemer, and if he will redeem them, perhaps their needs will be met. Ruth plans to glean in the fields to secure food to eat, and it turns out that the field she gleans in is owned by Boaz, her kinsman-redeemer.

As chapter 3 opens we see Ruth take five specific actions that ultimately results in their needs being met by God in an incredible way.

Listen (vv. 1-4)

Naomi gives Ruth very specific instructions for what will happen on the threshing floor, how to dress, and what to do as the evening progressed. Ruth listens to Naomi’s advice without question.

Obey (vv. 5-9)

Ruth promises to obey Naomi and then follows her instructions exactly.

Believe (vv. 10-14)

Ruth believes Boaz when he says he will take care of her one way or another, and discretely follows his instructions.

Receive (vv. 15-17)

Ruth receives the gift of grain from Boaz and returns to Naomi.

Wait (v. 18)

After giving a full report to Naomi, Ruth waits for Boaz to fulfill his promise.

Application

What do you do when you are facing a hopeless situation and have needs that can only be met by God? Consider Ruth’s 3-C’s example.

1) Common Sense. Ruth used common sense. From the first day when Naomi announced her plan to return to her homeland, Ruth exercised common sense in determining her course of action.

2) Careful Thought. Ruth gave careful thought. Naomi knew the culture of her people well and Ruth listened carefully to her advice.

3) Conscientious Action. Ruth took deliberate, conscientious action. She did everything she could and left the rest to God. We should do the same:

  • Prayerfully listen to God for His instruction.
  • Courageously obey God in every detail.
  • Believe that whatever God has promised, God can and will deliver.
  • Receive with thanksgiving God’s blessings into your life.
  • Wait patiently for God to fulfill His promises.

Join the Conversation

As always questions and comments are welcome. Is there a time in your life when you faced a seemingly hopeless situation that eventually worked out, and now looking back you see God’s hand guiding and directing you?

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Category: Personal Development | Character

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2 thoughts on “#086: What to do When the Future Seems Hopeless!

  1. Ron,

    I was a resident assistant in college for a year. At the end of the year the college housing department didn’t renew my contract for the next year. I was told that I had started out strong but seemed to lose my passion for the work by the end of the year. They were right. I was disappointed but losing that position freed me up the next year to get involved in student government and the campus newspaper as a cartoonist. Out of disappointment a better path emerged. I’ve learned to trust such turns in my life. All the best!