Sometimes we imagine that our lives should follow a clear path from beginning to end. The shortest distance between two points is a straight line, after all. And yet life is often full of delays and detours that take us in unexpected directions. We may find that our lives are quite different from what we thought they should be.
Ruth and Hannah surely understood this. Ruth was not an Israelite, but she married one, and when her husband died, she had a choice to make. Would she return to her family and her old, familiar life, or would she embrace the Israelite faith and a new home with her mother-in-law? (see Ruth 1:4–18). Hannah’s plan for her life was to bear children, and her inability to do so left her “in bitterness of soul” (see 1 Samuel 1:1–10). As you read about Ruth and Hannah, consider the faith they must have had to put their lives in the Lord’s hands and travel their unexpected paths. Then you might think about your own journey. It will look different from Ruth’s and Hannah’s—and anyone else’s. But throughout the trials and surprises between here and your eternal destination, you can learn to say with Hannah, “My heart rejoiceth in the Lord” (1 Samuel 2:1).