When All Is Not Merry and Bright: Hope from Hagar's Story
For many people, sometimes the holidays...are hard.
I’ve been there before too. It’s not easy when you’ve suffered great loss or are hurting in these weeks when everything around you says to be happy. And often the holiday season can even seem to accentuate the pain you're already facing.
Many have lost someone they love just this year. Some have gone through a miscarriage. Others have experienced the pain of divorce or broken relationships. Some have lost jobs. Many are facing huge debt. Others are hurting for grown children who seemed to have lost their way. Some are facing new diagnosis and health issues. Others are still waiting for answered prayers, feeling like God has somehow forgotten. Many, especially this time of year, are struggling through depression and darkness, battling loneliness, and facing big fears. Some are worried over the future in a world that seems uncertain. And others feel lost in a sea of doubt, wondering if God even cares, or sees.
And while everyone is gathering with family and friends, and all is supposed to be merry and bright, life for many just seems a struggle.
God gives this word of hope, for those who feel alone, or somehow lost in the midst of the holiday season.
"You are the God who sees me..." Gen. 16:13
One young girl running scared. Away from home and all she knew. Lonely, rejected, hurt, and out of hope. Hagar ran to the desert for she had nowhere else to go. And God in His goodness, sent an angel to her there. He had never lost sight of her, He had never stopped caring. Though the lies of her own heart told her otherwise. The angel of God spoke straight through the lies of defeat, he told her to go back, he spoke hope and blessing over her in all God still had in store.
And Hagar knew, maybe what we need to remember still today. Her words breathed out this great truth that secures our struggles, and anchors our hope, "You are the God who sees me."
Let those words sink deep.
El Roi – He is the God who sees (notices, looks at intently, has regard for, observes, considers, watches over, gives attention to, gazes upon, who keeps on seeing). That’s our God. That’s the One who created us. That’s the One who loves so greatly and chases after us with good.
Don't ever think for a minute He doesn't see you, or care. You are not invisible to Him. Your situation is never too desperate for Him to work a miracle. He saw then, He sees now, every moment in the lives of His children, and He works, constantly works on our behalf, sometimes even sending an angel...
Don't doubt for a minute that you're all alone. He chased after Hagar in the desert, He knows where we are in our wilderness too.
He sees. He cares. He pursues us. He is with us.
May God fill every troubled, hurting heart, today and through these weeks, with His Presence of grace and peace.
Thank you that you see us right where we are. In the midst of our pain and struggle. In the middle of our desert land. Thank you that you have not forgotten us and never will. Forgive us for not trusting you, for doubting your goodness, or not believing you’re really there. We choose to set our eyes on you today. We choose joy and peace when the whispered lies come and say we should have no joy or peace.
Thank you that you care for us and your love over us is so great. We confess our need for you, fill us with your Spirit, refresh our hearts, renew our minds in Your Truths. We ask for your hope and comfort to continue to heal our hearts where they’ve been broken. Give us the courage and strength to face another day, knowing that with you behind us and before us, we have nothing to fear.
In Jesus’ Name,
Debbie McDaniel is a writer, pastor's wife, mom to three amazing kids (and a lot of pets). Join her each morning on Fresh Day Ahead's facebook page, DebbieWebbMcDaniel, for daily encouragement in living strong, free, hope-filled lives. Find her also at Twitter.