We’ve been here before – seeing in the New Year in the midst of a global pandemic. But even in the most difficult times, we know we have a God who never leaves us nor forsakes us (Deuteronomy 31:6). In the biblical story of Ruth, we can find fresh encouragement for how we can look to 2022 as a year of hope.
The book of Judges tells us about the challenges that Ruth would have faced. It was a dark time, filled with famine, war and poverty. The book of Ruth begins with Ruth being widowed.
But hope is found in a friendship – in a bond between two women who felt broken and alone after experiencing deep loss. And that is where the love of God shone brightly and transformed everything. And it’s that same love that radiates throughout the world today.
It’s not always clear what the path ahead looks like. Ruth could have stayed in Moab and gone to live with her family after her husband’s death. Instead, she decided to travel with Naomi, her mother-in-law, to Bethlehem to start her life afresh.
‘Don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God.’ (Ruth 1:16)
It was a decision made in faith – Ruth put her trust in the God Naomi worshipped, not knowing how it would turn out.
Today, for many of us, the path ahead also looks uncertain. What do we see before us? Plans put on hold. A pandemic with seemingly no end in sight. And that is before the individual challenges many of us are going through.
The book of Ruth can encourage us to take a leap of faith and put our trust in God to make a way for us. Jesus tells us we only need faith as small as a mustard seed (Matthew 17:20). So let us begin.
- Write down some of the things you are struggling with at the moment.
- Find verses in the Bible that celebrate God’s faithfulness towards us and the love he has for us. For example: Deuteronomy 7:9, Psalm 46:1, Zephaniah 3:17, Romans 8:38. Write these down next to your struggles.
- Lift your list up to God in prayer and ask God to make a way for you through these struggles and disappointments. The Psalms show us we do not have to hide our feelings from God, so open up and let your emotions flow free to a God who listens and cares for you.