When It’s Hard To Be Thankful

 

It isn’t always easy to be thankful, is it? When physical or emotional pain and/or losses overwhelm us, it can be hard to see through our tears or focus our minds on blessings right in front of us. 

Hagar was an alien and a slave. When her mistress found herself barren, she was given to Abraham to bear a child for her. But dissension escalated, especially after Sarah birthed a child herself. Sarah no longer wanted Hagar’s son around her son Isaac.

Hagar and Ishmael were rejected and sent away to wander in the hot and dry desert with only some water in a skin and some food to sustain them. But the water emptied…

She couldn’t bear to see her son suffer and die of thirst, so she put him under one of the bushes and distanced herself.

Dehydrated and devastated of hope, she sat down and sobbed. Did no one hear her and her son? Did no one care?

“What is the matter, Hagar? Do not be afraid; God has heard the boy crying as he lies there.” Hope heralded in by an Angel of God.

Someone did care. She wasn’t alone. God heard Ishmael’s cries. He heard Hagar’s cries. He hears the cries of the needy.

“For He will deliver the needy who cry out,
the afflicted who have no one to help.”
Psalm 72:12

God lifted her drooping head and opened her tear-swollen eyes to see it. A well. Right in front of her.

Hagar got up, filled her water skin, and gave her son a drink.

We, too, may sometimes feel empty and hopeless. Spiritually parched. Physically exhausted. Blinded by the tears of our grief over the losses and struggles in our lives. How can we ever be thankful?

If we look into our discouraged hearts or at our bleak circumstances (or that of others), we will surely despair of hope. We won’t see the well of blessings God has placed in front of us. We won’t see that God really is good and is full of love and compassion towards us. We won’t see that He actually is for us, not against us.

God longs to be gracious to us. He tenderly lifts our weary hearts to see His bottomless well of love. He invites us to drink, long and freely.

“Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you;
therefore He will rise up to show you compassion.
For the Lord is a God of justice.
Blessed are all who wait for Him!”
Isaiah 30:18

Jesus’ love and compassion will never empty. They will always be more than enough for us. No matter what. He heard Hagar’s and Ishmael’s cries, and He will hear our cries. He didn’t forget them, and He won’t forget us.

Precious Lord, You know the heart of every person. You know the heavy burdens weighing us down. Please lift us and carry us through this Thanksgiving season and always. Open the eyes of our hearts to Your never-emptying well of love and empower us to drink from it. Send fullness in spite of empty places we feel and strength and peace amid the struggles of this life. Please help us to truly believe You are good, You are love, and You are for us. Thank You for Your patience with us and for never condemning us. Help us to express our gratitude to You by releasing our burdens into Your hands and trusting Your plan for us. Open our eyes, too, to see all that we still have and still are able to do. Thank You so much for Your unconditional love, Your endless patience with us, and Your ever-flowing and over-flowing grace!

“Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing”
by Chris Tomlin

28 thoughts on “When It’s Hard To Be Thankful

  1. The story of Hagar is the perfect reminder of God’s goodness toward us even when we find ourselves despairing of hope. Thank you, Trudy, for this insightful inspiration today, and may our hearts ever be grateful for the blessings God gives. Happy Thanksgiving!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m thankful for you, too, Lynn! I love that picture of God’s tenderness, don’t you? It’s so heartening that He not only provides the well, but He also tenderly lifts her head and opens her eyes. Happy Thanksgiving to you, too! May our hearts be grateful for the tender and compassionate love of our God!

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  2. Trudy, really needed this word today. Especially this: “If we look into our discouraged hearts or at our bleak circumstances (or that of others), we will surely despair of hope. We won’t see the well of blessings God has placed in front of us. We won’t see that God really is good and is full of love and compassion towards us. We won’t see that He actually is for us, not against us.” Love you sister! In the midst of walking your ‘via dolorosa’ you bring gentle grace and comfort. You are in the well of blessings God has placed before me. Thank you! 💕🙏

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    1. Oh Sita, I am so grateful you were comforted. Thank you for your kind and loving words. I love you, too! This journey can be painful, and it can be so hard to focus on God’s love. But God is faithful and patient with us, isn’t He? May our eyes daily search for and receive the endless fountain of love Jesus has for us!

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  3. Hagar’s story is such a beautiful reminder of how God is always there, even when we feel abandoned or forgotten, and that he knows just what we need, that he lovingly helps us to turn our eyes away from our circumstances to see the hope that he offers. Hope you have a happy Thanksgiving!

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    1. God’s faithfulness in Hagar’s circumstances always brings me such hope, too, Lesley. Thank you. I remember you said before that they don’t celebrate Thanksgiving in Scotland, but I hope you also may be filled with Thanksgiving. I love that you write out things you’re thankful for each day. May we daily remember God is always there for us and knows just what we need!

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  4. Trudy, as always, your truths speak to my heart. This part of Hagar’s story always stirs me. To feel that kind of desperation, and to have the God of all creation show up and give hope and new life? He always amazes me with the intimacy of His love for His children.

    Our perspective on a thing can make all the difference in how we go forward. When our eyes are on ourselves, we will be discouraged. When we place our eyes on God, we will still walk through the hard, but we walk with His peace and the sense of His presence with us.

    I hope you have a sweet Thanksgiving, my friend. Love and hugs to you!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hagar’s story stirs me, too, Jeanne. God didn’t leave her rejected and alone. Yes, His love is amazing. Our perspective surely does make a difference. May we daily remember to keep our eyes on God, even through the hard! Thanksgiving blessings, hugs, and love to you, too!

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  5. Trudy,
    Thanks for sharing Hagar’s story; it is a lovely reminder of how God sees us when we’re desperate and feel like there is no hope. Praying you and your family have a hope and joy-filled Thanksgiving and may you discover new blessings of God’s love for you 🙂 Love and hugs to you, my friend 🙂

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    1. Thank you, Dolly. I pray you and family also have a hope and joy-filled Thanksgiving. And may we together discover more and more how deep and wide and high God’s love is for us! Love and hugs to you, too!

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  6. Dear Trudy,
    Oh thank you for your precious prayer today. These words especially are filling my heart: “Open the eyes of our hearts to Your never-emptying well of love and empower us to drink from it.” I am so thankful that He so kindly lifts our eyes to show us His help right in front of us. What a merciful Lord we have! And those verses from Isaiah 30 are some of my favorites–reminding me of a difficult time in my life when He met me so sweetly. Blessings, love, and Hugs to you especially this Thanksgiving Week!

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    1. Yes, our God truly is merciful! It’s amazing how He meets us in those difficult times of our lives. Thanksgiving blessings, love, and hugs to you, too, Bettie! I hope your pain has backed off. May we drink of and be filled to overflowing from the bottomless well of God’s love!

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  7. Trudy, you really do have the gift and art of a talented storyteller. This is so beautifully written. I love these little glimpses, these tender scenarios you give us of biblical characters. It’s easy to relate to the way you enflesh them for us, helping us see how we are all inextricably linked in our feelings and thoughts, then and now. Have you ever thought of turning them into a book?
    I LOVE your prayer! It’s so moving, inspiring and encouraging. These words especially spoke to my soul: “Send fullness in spite of empty places we feel and strength and peace amid the struggles of this life.” Amen! Refill the wells, Lord. May your Thanksgiving be filled with joy, gratitude and peace as you rest in acknowledgement of the great blessings you have received. Much love and hugs to you, dear friend! xox

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m so grateful you were encouraging and inspired, Joy. Yes! Refill the wells, Lord! We need that daily, don’t we? Thank you for your thoughtful and kind encouragement and Thanksgiving prayer. No, I haven’t thought of turning them into a book. Unless God shows me differently, I believe writing blog posts and encouraging notes are where He wants me. 🙂 There was a time I was going to write a book, but that’s a long story. I think I am in a different and better place now than I was then. Much love and hugs to you, too! May God help us to open our eyes to the blessings still surrounding us and dwelling within us!

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    1. Thank you, Mary. Yes, it can be very difficult for many for various reasons. I pray you, too, may receive many blessings! May we learn to ever more deeply to trust our God and to surrender our plans to His infinitely better plans!

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  8. Such a beautiful prayer and love this promise: “He tenderly lifts our weary hearts to see His bottomless well of love. He invites us to drink, long and freely.” Love this! Hope you had a wonderful and relaxing Thanksgiving, Trudy! Love and Hugs to you! ❤

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    1. I’m so grateful you are encouraged by His promise, Michelle. Isn’t His tender love and compassion amazing? Love and hugs to you, too! May we drink constantly from His bottomless well of love and may He heal us ever more deeply!

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  9. What a blessing to be here today, Trudy. You have always blessed me so with your heart and your words that always point firmly to God’s unfailing love. Hagar’s story is one that speaks so deeply to my heart. For so many years when I needed to grasp the truth of God’s love that is described right there in her story, it slipped right by me. But then one day, AHA! I saw the words as never before and grasped the truth as never before. He sees us. He answers our cries. We are not alone no matter how dire our situation.

    Much love to you,
    Lori

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for your kind words, Lori. Isn’t it amazing how God opens our hearts to understand His Word more deeply? We can read something so many times and it never soaks in. I love those AHA moments! Yes, He sees us and answers our cries. May we cling to the Truth that our God sees us, hears us, answers our cries, and will never abandon us!

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