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The Struggle to Hope

Our dreams must be shattered so God's power can be released in us.
Do you ever wonder why the Book of Ruth was written? Naomi returns home after losing her husband and two sons. Feeling distinctly miserable, she essentially changes her name saying, "Don't call me pleasant one. Call me bitter one."

She comes home at a time when everybody's working hard, gathering grain that's now growing, since the famine ended. They're all saying Our trials are over. God is blessing us. Let's party. And she's Not me.

When I was in private practice as a clinical psychologist in Florida a client of mine committed suicide on Christmas Eve. I'd planned to hospitalize him for his depression the day after Christmas. I got the call about eleven o'clock that night, Christmas Eve. I spoke with his wife, mother of three small children, young man in his thirties. Next morning I got up and I watched our two sons rip open their Christmas gifts. We had friends over for dinner, happy day. Well, how did I feel? Maybe I felt a little bit like Naomi when she arrived home at the beginning of the harvest.

As I read the story of Naomi so far I'm not enjoying it. It's a sad story. It's a romantic story of an older woman who lost her husband and then lost her two sons, whose life at the end of the story is made better by a wealthy relative who was flattered by the attentions of a young woman. This wealthy, older relative marries the young woman who happened to be the of the bereaved older lady. And this older fellow marries this girl and pays off the debt that the older penniless lady owed; and she gets her land back and she gets a , and she gets a grandkid. Story ends with Obed on Naomi's lap. What we're supposed to feel is Isn't that great? Behind every shattered dream God has a better one.

I must tell you candidly that when I ...

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Larry Crabb is founder and president of New Way Ministries, distinguished scholar in residence at Colorado Christian University, and author of Shattered Dreams (WaterBrook).

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Sermon Outline:

Introduction

Why are our most cherished dreams shattered?

I. Shattered dreams tell us God is up to something wonderful.

II. God encourages us in our struggle to hope.

III. The power of God is released through shattered dreams

Conclusion

My Boaz has not only promised me heaven, he has given me himself right now.