I would say, “while there’s life, there’s hope.” But how do you say such an optimist’s motto to an old woman who once ‘had it’ but now has ‘lost it’? Opportunity is rich for the young, but what kind of doors would open for the aged? I remember asking my office mate, “Would you still apply in another company even if you find a (second) husband who can provide for you financially?” She said something like, “Well, I think, the right question to ask would be, ‘Will there be a company still willing to hire someone my age?'” I laughed but I realized also that she had a point. Life may be ahead of you when you are young, but opportunity lessens as you grow old?
And oh, even the young can feel like they’ve “missed it.” Imagine Michelle Kwan, in her early twenties, missing the Olympic gold medal. She contends for it again, years later, with a nagging injury that forced her to make a painful yet needed choice to let go of what had become her last opportunity for an Olympic medal in Women’s Figure Skating, Singles Division. She is so young and yet at such a young age, a possibility had already passed her by. She is now a professional skater. There is no turning back into becoming an amateur Olympic contender.
But then again she is blessed. And many would say that she did not miss the gold, but she won the silver. To prove which one is true is not the goal of this particular post. I am trying to paint a scenario, a feeling, that which we experience upon reaching a most dreaded conclusion, the conclusion that there is no way we can pick up the pieces anymore, or turn back time, or regain what had been lost. When we have lost hope, and time and favor are now both against our whim and future.
We change our name from Naomi to Mara. From one who is glad into one who is bitter, because the Lord has turned away His blessing from her. Naomi lost her husband and two sons. She is old and it would be impossible for her to remarry. For a woman during her time, such state is as good as hope-less. No more hope for an heir or future family that will give meaning or purpose to your life, no way to extend lineage. (Read Ruth 1-3)
But come the next chapter of her life, the part where the novel is supposed to say, “and she lived the rest of her life miserably without a future or hope…,” God makes a sudden shift (italics and underscore mine):
Naomi Gains a Son
13 So Boaz took Ruth and she became his wife. When he made love to her, the LORD enabled her to conceive, and she gave birth to a son. 14 The women said to Naomi: “Praise be to the LORD, who this day has not left you without a guardian-redeemer. May he become famous throughout Israel! 15He 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.”
16 Then Naomi took the child in her arms and cared for him. 17 The women living there said, “Naomi has a son!” And they named him Obed. He was the father of Jesse, the father of David.
And may we add that Jesus came from the line of David.
And who would have thought, right?
May the hope that God’s Word bring, awaken us into GREAT HOPEs for 2012. 🙂 Shalom!