“They married Moabite women, one named Orpah and the other Ruth.  After they had lived there about ten years, both Mahlon and Kilion also died, and Naomi was left without her two sons and her husband.”  (Ruth 1:4-5, NIV)

It is hard to imagine a more dire situation than the one described in today’s scripture: Death, young widowhood, exile to a foreign land, and bleak economic prospects.  This story of Naomi and her two daughters-in-law doesn’t end there, but it does begin in pain and uncertainty.

(There is more to this story, of course; and I encourage you to read the four short chapters that comprise the book of Ruth — which takes less time to read than many articles in the daily newspaper — for the rest of the story.)

Despite the dark outlook, Naomi, Ruth, Orpah, and others, nevertheless, persist in the practice of humility, hospitality, and honesty.  Although they were not assured of a short-term (tactical) positive outcome — none of us ever are — they are supremely confident in the end-term (strategic) outcome with God.

We show our confidence (another word for “faith”) in our heavenly Father — as did Naomi and the others — by persisting in humility, hospitality, and honesty, particularly in hard times.  – Luther

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