Listen to today’s devo!

You shall name him Ishmael, for the Lord has heard of your misery. (Gen. 16:11)

I recently read the book Mighty Be Our Powers. The book recounts the effort of women to end the war in Liberia. The author describes how she would gather women and give them an opportunity to share their traumatic stories. It was called “the shedding of the weight.” By sharing their misery with others, the burden became lighter.

Hagar felt all alone. She had been mistreated so badly that she had to run away into the desert. She had lost everything except her son. She may have felt that no one cared about her. But the Lord went and found her and told her that he had heard about her misery. That is what Ishmael means, “God hears.”

Sometimes we feel all alone. Sometimes we feel as if we have stories that we cannot share, stories we would not even dare whisper. But rest assured, God has heard of your misery. You can share your misery with him, and when you shed the weight with God, he can carry it for you. Remember, Jesus says in Matthew, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”

God is both the best friend we could ever ask for and someone who has experienced more heartache than you could ever imagine. You can shed the weight with him.

Do not despair, for the Lord has heard of your misery.

Aaron Wilkinson is a member of College Wesleyan Church in Marion, Indiana, and works at Wesley Seminary. His favorite word is eucatastrophe.

© 2021 Wesleyan Publishing House. Reprinted from Light from the Word. Used by permission. Scriptures taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®.