“Then God opened Hagar’s eyes, and she saw a well full of water. She quickly filled her water container and gave the boy a drink.” (Genesis 21:19 NLT)
Do you ever get discouraged? If not, you’re certainly the exception. Discouragement, disappointment, emotional ups and downs are a part of life – yes, even life in Christ. Does God cause them? No, but neither does He stop them. Why not? Because they’re part of the ebb and flow of life, and because His intention is to always use them to make us more like Him and more effective for Him.
Before Abram became Abraham, God made a covenant with him. In the closing verses of Genesis 15, God promised Abram that his descendants would be given the land that was then occupied by many other people groups. This was the land that would become known as the “Promised Land.”
There was just one small problem. Abram’s wife, Sarai (not yet Sarah), was getting older and had not been able to bear children. So, Sarai figured God must not know what He’s talking about and decided to take things into her own hands. Her solution? Give her Egyptian servant, Hagar, to Abram as his wife, so he could have children through her. That’s like saying: “Okay, I need a million dollars, but I only have $1,000, so I’ll go to the casino to win my million.” VERY bad idea!
Hagar became pregnant and gave birth to Ishmael, but when God kept His promise, as He always does, and Sarah gave birth to Isaac, trouble intensified between Sarah and Hagar, and Isaac and Ishmael. Finally, Sarah demanded that Abraham “get rid of that slave woman and her son.”
That always happens when we try to fulfill God’s promises without God. When are those kinds of decisions most often made? At times of spiritual or emotional “drought.” When God seems far away, and we believe the only option is to take things into our own hands.
Jesus told the Samaritan woman at the well that: “Anyone who drinks this water will soon become thirsty again. But those who drink the water I give will never be thirsty again. It becomes a fresh, bubbling spring within them, giving them eternal life.” If that’s the case, then why do we have times of dryness in our hearts and minds?
May I be honest? I’m not sure. So, what do I do when these dry times come? My goal is to never forget in the darkness what I know to be true in the light. What do I know to be true in the light? God is light and in Him is no darkness. He always keeps His promises, such as, He will never leave me nor forsake me. There are many, many more, but suffice it to say, that for me, when I’m physically and/or emotionally dragging, there are things that become my “default” behavior.
For example, I don’t make major decisions when I’m “down.” I don’t trust my judgment. It’s helpful to let my wife know, but most of the time she knows before I do. But here’s the thing, In those times I find it very difficult to give expression to what I’m feeling. I’m cognitively aware that I’m “dragging,” but I’m also aware of God’s presence with me. I pray, thanking Him for what He’s doing in my life, that He’s with me and for me. I trust that He understands exactly why I feel the way I do, but I don’t have words to explain it. I think many times I’m just physically tired or emotionally drained.
What’s my point? I can’t be the only one who gets “down.” And, even as I write, I realize “down” doesn’t necessarily mean discouraged or depressed. It’s like having a “spiritual cold.” I’m just not 100%. The reality is, the proverbial “well of Jesus’ love and life within us” NEVER runs dry. For me, it’s just that I’m not as willing to run to the well. Sometimes I just need a nap!
Blessings, Ed 😊