Seasons of Insecurity
There are certainly times when we feel more insecure than others. Times when what we lack is greater than what we possess. When it seems as though there is no answer to our needs, at least no apparent answer. Life can be very hard and then it seems that God isn't paying attention to what we are going through or maybe even he is opposed to us, keeping us from joy and plenty and the feeling of security. Naomi was at that point. Her husband and sons had died and she was living in the midst of a famine. All she could think to do was return to the land of her people, Israel, and hope to survive. She wasn't about to take her widowed daughters-in-law with her because she didn't want them to have to endure as she anticipated. She said "It is more bitter for me than for you, because the Lord's hand has gone out against me!" Later on, when she arrived home in Bethlehem, she said "Don't call me Naomi..Call me Mara, because the Almighty has made my life very bitter. I went away full, but the Lord has brought me back empty...The Lord has afflicted me; the Almighty has brought misfortune upon me." Maybe you've felt the same way and said things very similar.
It is truthfully easier to feel secure when everything is going right. When the bills are all paid and the kids are behaving. When the job is productive and providing. When the home is in great shape and the future is bright. But when hard times come, our security, even our security in God, diminishes and falls away like the leaves of a oak tree in autumn. Our security comes from our connection to God and we were not made to live apart from that connection. When it feels like even God is against us, hope can't survive.
Naomi is not alone. Maybe you've asked, how can there be hope when illness seems to come at us like waves from an unrelenting tide? How can there be hope when prayer after prayer is unheard and the life of a loved one ends in death? How can there be hope when your adult child makes all the wrong choices and lives in antagonism toward those who truly love them the most? Where is hope? It is very near.
In her mind, Naomi had no future, so she insisted that Ruth leave her and go back to her family. But even if Naomi or Ruth could not see any light at the end of the tunnel, God was at work. Naomi's insecurity almost caused her to leave behind the source God had provided for her hope. Imagine that. If Ruth had gone back to her parents, there would have been an entirely different story play out. Naomi would have gone back to Bethlehem and lived the rest of her life in bitterness and misery. God had placed something in the heart of Ruth that said "I am the only hope Naomi has" even if Naomi didn't see it. The story of Naomi ends well. You see, Ruth meets Boaz and by Jewish law, Boaz can help provide for his dead relative by taking his widow as a wife and providing an heir to Naomi's family. A child is born, a son, and the women of Bethlehem told Naomi "Praise be to the Lord, who this day has not left you without a kinsman-redeemer...He will renew your life and sustain you in your old age. For your daughter-in-law, who loves you and who is better to you than seven sons, has given him birth." You can see the leaves budding on that oak tree.
Life has seasons of insecurity, but every season has an end. We don't live in perpetual winter or summer. What disappeared in the Fall will reappear in the Spring. Don't be ashamed of your insecurity during insecure times. God fully understands. But don't stay insecure when you know that God is at work and the answer is near, nearer than you think.