Thursday, November 20

Open Your Eyes

Kingsford Smith Airport - Sydney, Australia

Genesis 21

“And God opened her eyes, and she saw a well of water;” Genesis 21:19a

I am focusing on Genesis once again. You will find the preceding devotions for this book under “Archived.”

This Chapter magnifies the power of God, and the events coming to fruition by the grace of God alone. Through studying these verses, I shared the joy of Sarah as she finally gave birth to Isaac – a name which means “laughter.” At the ripe-old-age of one-hundred, Abraham is a daddy once again. A feast is held to mark the occasion of Isaac’s weaning; children nurse longer in the East than the Occident (Western hemisphere, especially the countries in Europe and America) ---most likely Isaac was between two and three-years old.

Have you ever reached a place in the Christian walk where your spiritual eyes have been opened, and you stare down the entirety of a corridor that, up to this point, consumed your mind---and you learn to look beyond? For me, the scales have been removed more than once. Are you familiar with the feeling of the sun disclosing an eclipse on your mind, and realizing there’s a greater purpose for the unexplainable? I call this “Divine Spiritual Synergy;” for the outcome is always greater than the sum of our own individual resources or capabilities.

When my husband and I departed the shores of Sydney Australia, the “airport scene” was something I shall never forget. It permeated my mind; every part of my being was deeply affected. I discovered grief at a new level and from that painful pivot, began a journey where God has “opened my eyes, and I have seen the well of water.”

Four-years ago we moved to America, leaving my girls behind in Australia. Belinda was twenty-three, and Alison was twenty. Family members gathered at the Kingsford-Smith Airport, as we anticipated the inevitable. At this point, leaving Australia was irreversible, and in many respects, an event that was completely out of my control and something I had to trust my sweetheart for. When my husband decided we should go back to First Baptist Church, I simply surrendered without complaint. As I look back, this could only be explained as further evidence of God’s grace in my life; however painful it is to our flesh and blood, all who fear God and are walking in His ways will promptly obey.

And it was time; “All passengers for Flight 230 to Chicago, this is your last call for boarding.” I embraced my girls and would not release the grip I had on them. My husband literally had to pry me away – the plane was leaving. As my heart thumped against my ribs, I looked back; the anguish and despair on their precious faces was a sight I shall never forget. Their cries were a sound I had to escape from, as I disappeared down the runway. My throat is caught up with emotion, and my eyes flooded with tears, as I create this misery montage of expressions, in the hope that God’s word will come to life for you; I’m endeavoring to construct an image of despair; perhaps you can relate at this point, either personally, or empathetically.

Hagar’s grief went far beyond mine – her boy was dehydrated and dying. But nonetheless, we both sobbed uncontrollably, we physically removed ourselves from a child, and we both heard the echoes of agony until we distanced ourselves. This was a peculiar sorrow and one that only those who have walked similar shoes can identify with. I would simply like to make this statement – “Our worst is always God’s best!” When we are in the pit of sorrow with no place to turn, it’s where God can do the most with us and through us. God is always punctual to His time; though His promised mercies come not at the time we set, they will certainly come at the time He sets, and that is the best time!

It was impossible for me to see anything through the eclipse of my sorrow. Hagar definitely stared down the barrel of death for both herself and her fourteen-year old son Ishmael. Do you think she saw a greater cause? The Bible says; “…and she departed, and wandered in the wilderness of Beersheba.” This was an area in the southern border of Palestine, out of their familiar direction---a wide extending desert, where they lost their way.

God graciously ministers to Hagar – in her wilderness; “And God opened her eyes, and she saw a well of water; and she went, and filled the bottle with water, and gave the lad drink.” Genesis 21:19 and God has ministered to me – in my wilderness. He does and He will minister to YOU!

Unless God opens our eyes, we can neither see, nor use the means which are before us. Many who have reason to be comforted, go mourning from day to day because they do not see the reason they have for comfort. There is a well of water near them in the covenant of grace, but they are not aware of it, till the same God that opened their eyes to see their wound, opens them to see their remedy.

Because we live by sense, we are apt to forget any former promises when present providences seem to contradict them. When things are at their worst, it takes an unfeigned faith to be able to count any blessings and cleave to an assurance that God WILL provide or do something.
Hagar was unsure of any future for either her or her son; from every viewpoint, it was over for her and Ishmael.

When the Sun of comfort rises upon the soul, it is good to remember how welcome the dawning of the day is. When Sarah received the promise, she laughed with distrust and doubt. When God gives us the mercies we began to despair of, we ought to remember with sorrow and shame our sinful distrust of his power and promise, whilst we were in pursuit of them. This mercy filled Sarah with joy and wonder. God's favors to His covenant people are such as surpass their own and others' thoughts and expectations: who could imagine that He should do so much for those that deserve so little? Who would have said that God should send his Son to die for us, his Spirit to make us holy, his angels to attend us? Who would have said that such great sins should be pardoned, such mean services accepted and such worthless worms taken into covenant?

It’s a humbling picture isn’t it?

My Grief is God’s Glory and without a doubt, there were certain steps I took that carried me through the deepest darkest days of my life. Nothing was the same; I had left my household as Hagar did. I was facing a wilderness I knew nothing about, as Hagar faced in Palestine. I had no assurance of where I would live, or how we would survive---as Hagar experienced. Yet, I knew we were in the center of God’s will, as I am now.

There are lessons which, had I stayed in Sydney, I would never have embraced. It takes a severe storm to test the vessel, and we never set sail in a gale – it always comes unexpectedly!

1. God Is a Just God

Our trials are just – they’re not unfair! The word of God is an incorruptible seed. When we read it, it falls onto the soil of our souls and we WILL experience growth. I’ve never grown tired of the way, but I’ve grown tired in the way; I’ve never been disappointed in Christ, but as I journey through life, I do get weary at times. We must find rest in our days of trouble – don’t quit! “But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.” Isaiah 40:31

2. Our Strength Must Come From God

The ways of God are paradox – “reap and you shall sow” – that’s a paradox. If you’re broke, you must give more. When we’re weary, we must give ourselves to others more than ever before. These are proven Biblical principles; God opened my eyes and I saw the well of wisdom in this fundamental lesson. Four years have passed, and I miss my girls more – not less. I don’t let my days go by aimlessly, I use the emptiness for a purpose; every week, I pray God will place me across the path of a college girl who has packed up and left her home and must feel the aloneness we have all felt at some point. Multiple times, and far beyond my expectations, God has used me in the lives of many precious girls to have a profound impact. And---the way of God IS paradox. God WILL bring godly women of insightful significance across Belinda and Alison’s path – He already has and He will continue to---my girls are being taken care of.

A Prescription for Times of Testing
  • Scriptural Rest – not inactivity or laziness; God knows the load we can tote. We can’t duplicate our own ministries and we can’t duplicate our own trials. Every snowflake is unique, and so are we! We must be faithful in the small things---“O LORD, how long shall I cry, and thou wilt not hear! …” Habakkuk 1:2 Separate not isolate! I’m aware that other people are hurting, not just me. We need to nurture awareness in our lives; awareness of God’s still quiet voice, awareness of His Words, awareness of His presence and purpose for our lives, awareness of our blessings, awareness of the effect our responses have on our family members, awareness of our testimony, awareness of our responsibilities, and awareness of His grace, mercy, and love.

  • Spiritual Refreshment – The Bible still works. Our refreshment comes as often as we read it! If we apply Scriptural truths to our life, we will experience results. The Bible is a revealing Book; it reveals God and it reveals us for what we really are. We ought to learn to like the Bible. The more we read it, the more we like it! It’s a shame we know what to do and don’t do it. It takes a disaster before we read our Bibles or pray. Then, when the dust settles on our troubles, we go back to being non-reading, non-praying Christian women.

  • Spiritual Revival“Yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will joy in the God of my salvation.” Habakkuk 3:18 that’s a vital key to our spiritual revival right there. Don’t wait for a meteor to drop from the sky and land on your roof of revival---it’s as close as a step away---turning from ME, and turning to THEE.

There’s so much to say and so little time to share. Further on, I would like to touch on the obedience aspect of our walk with God, the bigger picture in our pain, our testimony, and the place that gratitude plays amidst the toughest trials we may possibly face.

The God of Hagar, the God of Habakkuk, and the God of Deborah---is the God of YOUR world too! “…yet ye have not, because ye ask not.” James 4:2

You can do it! It’s not your battle – it’s the Lords!

I Love You,


1 comment:

Nancy M. said...

Excellent post Deborah! thank you for sharing your life so that others might be encouraged. lv-nancy