>When I paused to ask the Lord about any direction for studying the Bible this year, the word hope came to my mind.

I wondered, “Is that my theme for this year Lord or just an emphasis for this moment or for awhile or what?” I didn’t receive any direction on that but I thought I’d do a verse study on hope. And I think I’ll blog on it when I can.

Of course, I relate to that word hope because one of the many themes of my illness sabbatical has been hope. Putting my hope in the Lord and His work rather than hoping in doctors, procedures and programs. Only He is my source for relief. He provides.

Speaking of provision, after Dr. Etebar prescribed celebrex and lyrica for pain management for me, we found out it wasn’t’ covered and would cost $500. We called Dr. Nasr about sample pills and he was able to provided a good amount for several week of the Lyrica. Alhtough we had already bought lyrica at $138. But at least it saved us the larger part of buying celebrex.

I did a word search for “hope” in the Bible at www.biblegateway.com” and the first reference is found in Ruth.

“But Naomi said, “Return, my daughters. Why should you go with me? Have I yet sons in my womb, that they may be your husbands? “Return, my daughters! Go, for I am too old to have a husband. If I said I have hope, if I should even have a husband tonight and also bear sons, would you therefore wait until they were grown? Would you therefore refrain from marrying? No, my daughters; for it is harder for me than for you, for the hand of the LORD has gone forth against me.” Ruth 1:11-13 (New American Standard Bible)

I’m surprised that the first mention of hope is so far along in the Bible. Not until Ruth is hope mentioned. What about the Law? What about the First five books of the Bible. Hope wasn’t even mentioned in relation to Joseph’s story? Interesting. Not sure the significance of this but if anyone ever needed hope, it was “Mara”, oh, excuse me, that’s Naomi who had no hope.

In the NASB there are 146 references to the word hope. I guess I would have thought there would be more. I anticipate that most of them will be in the Psalms and the Epistles.

Naomi talks about having hope in relation to bearing sons for her daughters-in-law, but really the lack of hope is the whole theme of her life at this present state.

There have been times in this painful journey that I’ve lost hope of ever being out of pain again. I’ve longed for the ability to sit in a restaurant, to drive a car, to take a trip, to sit and visit with friends. I still don’t know the future but I’ve had to surrender my expectations and turn them over to the Lord.

I don’t know what the future holds, but I have faith to know He knows.

Right now as I’m looking out my bedroom window, there is a wonderful sunset of lines of organe and gray and beige and blue. The sun sets and leaves us the hope that it will rise again. Just as Naomi had hope in the end and ended up with the joy of a grandson, I have hope in the Lord for whatever He desires.