How was your Thanksgiving Day? Some of you may have rejoiced in all the blessings you may still have. But others may be burdened with sorrow that veils the blessings so you can’t see them anymore.
Not everyone feels Thanksgiving and Christmas are the most wonderful times of the year. Do you ever have those days where you feel like screaming, because everyone around you seems so happy? When you try to keep from crying because you’re afraid you will never stop? Perhaps this Thanksgiving Day was not joyful to you because of loss, illness or disability, divorce, domestic violence, abuse, addictions, missing or disabled (physically or mentally) military spouses or parents, family silence or criticism, or maybe having no family at all to share it with. Or maybe you have hidden pains and brokenness that you don’t dare to share with anyone, and you feel so alone and misunderstood.
When Abraham sent away Hagar and Ishmael, they wandered in the desert. With an emptied water skin, Hagar put her son under one of the bushes. She could not bear the thought of seeing her son die. Parched and weak, she distanced herself, sat down, and sobbed.
Then an angel called to Hagar, “What is the matter, Hagar? Do not be afraid; God has heard the boy crying as he lies there.”
Bowed down with grief, Hagar did not see the blessing in front of her. But God lifted her head and opened her eyes to see it. A well. Right in front of her.
Sometimes we have blessings around us we can’t see because of grief. Our eyes, blinded with tears, cannot look anywhere but down into the pit of our misery. But God hears our cries. He heard Ishmael’s cries. He heard Hagar’s cries. And He can and will hear our cries.
There is a bottomless, always-full well of Jesus’ love right in front of us, waiting for us to drink freely of it. A well full of yearning love that “longs to be gracious to us.” Of faithful love that says, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” Of selfless, sacrificial love that “has freed us from our sins by His blood.” Of forgiving, nonjudgmental love that holds no condemnation for those who believe in Him. Of replenishing, restoring love that says to those whose hope has dried up, “I will put breath in you, and you will come to life.”
The well is ready for us, but like Hagar, we have to use it or it won’t help us. Hagar was likely physically weak from lack of water and spiritually devastated of hope. Then God opened her eyes to see the well, and she believed. She got up, filled her water skin, and gave her son a drink. We, too, may sometimes feel empty and hopeless. But if we by faith can lift our eyes to see what is available to us for the asking… Do you see it? That never-emptying well of miraculous love? Inviting you to get up and drink?
If you are having a difficult time this Thanksgiving and Christmas season, may Jesus hold you up and strengthen you. May He lift you and carry you when you can’t go any further. And may He each morning not only open our eyes to His never-emptying well of love, but also empower us to drink from it. Then instead of emptiness, we will have fulfillment. Instead of struggles, we will have peace. Instead of sorrow, we will have joy.