LynnAbbott_Foggy Hillside_11x14_Portfolio_72dpi© 2018 Lynn Abbott

In Southern California, they call it June Gloom.  And if you’ve ever booked a June vacation for the “sunny” beach in San Diego, you’ve probably come away disappointed.

You see, in June, the fog rolls in.  And the coast wears a gray cloak.

It’s a blip in SoCal’s nearly constant sunshine.  But fog in London?  Pretty standard fare.

And so each Autumn as I prepared to teach 19-year-olds the finer points of composition and literature, the fog made its soft entrance.  And the days grew longer.

Understandably, this Southern California raised gal longed for a glimpse of the sun.

But the fog appeared impenetrable…the gloom interminable.

Perhaps, like me, your life at times has paralleled a foggy landscape.  Expectations for sunny days give way to weeping skies and poor visibility.

And the fog rolls in.

This past month marked ten years since my mother died.  She not only was my best friend, but she had also lived with our family for 12 years.

When she died on a quiet– and yes, early June– Sunday afternoon, hazy light caressed the garden flowers that lean against our home’s external, brick and plaster.

Inside, however, a storm raged. I wrapped my arms around her, laid my head on her shoulder, and sobbed.

My son knelt in the doorway of her room. We were shattered. She was gone, and we knew we would not hear her laughter again for a very long time.

LynnAbbott_Foggy Hillside_11x14_Portfolio_72dpiIt seemed to me, that with her, laughter had died.

And fog settled.

Yet, not long after her death, an intermission from personal tragedy arrived just in time. And through a burst of sunny humor, Abba introduced hope.

Indeed, I distinctly remember the winter day when merriment broke through the heavy blanket of seemingly, interminable gray.  For me, it marked a slow but steady clearing.

In the stillness of that humid, misty afternoon, I collected our mail from our rural box.

As I casually flipped through the stack, a postcard from our local pharmacy arrested my attention. When I saw that it was addressed to my mother, the familiar ache flooded over me.

But much to my surprise, emblazoned on the envelope, were the words: “Carol, we want you back! Here’s $100 in gift cards to prove it.”

My mouth began to twitch. With my index finger, I traced the words, “Carol, we want you back!” And I laughed.

You see, they are NOT the only ones…

I do believe, however, that it will require a more miraculous offer than the $100 gift certificates to persuade Mom to return.

Yup.  Abba used humor to clear some of June’s residual gloom.

Laughter.  That’s right.  My grandmother always used to say that it was good for the soul.

Maybe, you are in desperate need of a little levity in your life as well.  Heartbreak homesteads in your heart:  perhaps, you grieve the death of a dearly loved one.

Or maybe, you grieve the living…separation from or rejection by someone you love.

It might be that you have moved far from your support system.  Or somehow, your support system has somehow let you down.

Maybe, you are in desperate need of a little levity in your life as well.

And suddenly, you stumble in the cold, blinding fog.

June gloom.

Isaac and Abraham probably felt a foggy chill after Sarah died. Isaac, whose name meant “laughter,” likely felt that with his mother’s death, merriment had passed as well.

And as was the case with my mother, there was no getting Sarah back.

She was gone, and Abraham and Isaac were left to cope with their grief.

Sarah’s death, in fact, appears to have been the impetus for Abraham’s decision to arrange a marriage for Isaac, (Genesis 24).

While scripture doesn’t tell us much about Isaac’s relationship with his parents, I suspect he was very close to both of them.

In addition, Isaac had embraced their great faith.

I’m quite convinced of it.

After all, some Bible scholars suggest that Isaac was approximately 30 years old when Abraham faced his greatest test.LynnAbbott_Foggy Hillside_11x14_Portfolio_72dpi

Think of that…

It kinda puts the whole command, “Take your son, your only son, whom you love and go… Sacrifice him…” in a different light.

If Isaac were approximately 30 years old, then, Abraham was 130 years old.  Without a doubt, Isaac could have overpowered his father when the time came for the sacrifice.

Apparently, Isaac also trusted Abba to provide to provide the sacrificial lamb.

Even so, great faith does not make one immune to deep heartbreak.  In this world, we all face grief and pain.

The inevitable gloom.

Isaac’s beloved mother had died.

Yet, God’s grace and love burned through that fog.

That’s right.  God not only cares about “daily bread,” but He also provides for His children’s emotional needs.

I do know this.  However,  I frequently forget to run to my heavenly Father with my heart needs.

Instead, I think, “I can handle this.  I simply need to endure.”

And so, I pray for health needs.  I pray for the basics like food and shelter.

After Sarah died, Isaac and Abraham likely experienced fog’s chill.

But when my heart is breaking, I face my pain with stoic determination.

I suspect I’m not the only one who does this.

Yet, God is near to the brokenhearted; He saves them.   He also promises to heal them, (Psalm 34:18 and  147: 3).

In other words, you and I can ask Abba to supply our emotional as well as physical needs.

Simple as that.

And if doubt about Yahweh’s compassion still remains, Isaac’s story clears any remaining uncertainty. Genesis 24 demonstrates that Abba cares about every detail.

Abraham identified Isaac’s need and looked for God’s perfect provision.

LynnAbbott_Foggy Hillside_11x14_Portfolio_72dpiAfter all, God’s covenant included both a promise and call.  Thus, Abraham walked away from paganism and moved to the land that God had promised.

Abraham wished for his son to marry, but  he also understood Isaac’s ultimate destiny.   Isaac had been set apart for God.  Through Isaac would come the promise.

For this reason, God’s choice for Isaac would not lead him away from God or from God’s promises.

And so,  Abraham sent his chief servant on a journey to Mesopotamia to find a wife for Isaac from among Yahweh-following relatives.

In his quest for a bride for Isaac, the chief servant prayed for Yahweh’s wisdom and guidance, “O LORD, God of my master Abraham, give me success today, and show kindness to my master Abraham,” (Genesis 24:12).

Then, he asked God to lead him directly.  Trust in Abba, then, defined the search for Abba’s perfect will.

In other words, you and I can ask Abba to supply our emotional as well as physical needs.

And just as He promises to do for you and me, God honored that prayer (James 1:5).

When beautiful Rebekah came to the well that day, Abraham’s servant asked her for a drink of water.  After she kindly gave him water, she also offered to water the camels.

God answered specifically, (Genesis 24:14).

As the servant spoke with further with Rebekah, he discovered that she was one of Abraham’s relatives.

Finally, when given the choice, Rebekah willingly accepted the marriage proposal.

But it gets better.

Genesis tells us that Isaac went out in the field one evening to meditate.  He likely prayed there regularly.  On that particular evening, he looked up and saw Rebekah’s caravan.

Yes, “The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit,” (Psalm 34:18).

Genesis 24 concludes with the following simple summary: “So she became his wife, and he loved her; and Isaac was comforted after his mother’s death,” (Genesis 24:66).

LynnAbbott_Foggy Hillside_11x14_Portfolio_72dpiOf course, our heavenly Father is not a celestial vending machine.  Rather, He provides for us in His way and in His perfect time.

Thus, as we wait, we follow Abraham’s example of faith; we trust  Abba to supply even when we cannot see clearly.

We learn to trust in the fog.

Truly, Abba works for our good even when we cannot yet see the outcome.

In our disappointments,  grief,  loneliness or pain, Abba walks with us.

And when the time is right, you and I see His light and love burn through the foggy gloom.

Abba provided for Abraham and Isaac; He has promised to provide for you and me (Philippians 4:19) .

Bruised and broken, we run to Him.  And in childlike faith, we cry, “Abba, Father.”

Fog begins to clear.  And one day, we find ourselves laughing again.

“He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds,” ~Psalm 147:3