I was exhausted. I was drenched in sweat. I was filled with inexplicable joy–a joy I had never known. It was the day Steven Hugh Jaynes, Jr. emerged from the pocket of my womb and made his grand debut into the world. And it was through that miracle that I understood an important name for God: El Shaddai.
When my son was born, I never knew so much love could be wrapped in one tiny package. After twenty-three-and-a-half hours of pushing and pulling, heaving and hoeing, he finally decided to leave his comfy sauna and face the bright lights of the delivery room. As soon as the umbilical cord was severed, the nurses whisked him away to make sure ten fingers and toes were accounted for, wrap him in a cozy blanket, and place a cap on his fuzzy head.
We got to visit for a little while, this new little person and I, but alas they needed to run a few more tests to make sure all was well. A few moments later, a nurse brought my little man to my room, placed the squirmy bundle on my chest, and smiled. Steven’s head bobbed about like he was looking for something. He whimpered. He searched. And then he found what he was rooting for. Steven latched onto my body, and the miracle began. Nourishing, life-giving sustenance began to flow. And for the first time I truly understood the name…El Shaddai.
One of the names of God in the Old Testament is El Shaddai. God said to Abraham, “I am God Almighty [El Shaddai]; walk before me faithfully and be blameless. Then I will make my covenant between me and you and will greatly increase your numbers” (Genesis 17:1).
The word El means “mighty” or “strong. El Shaddai is most often translated “God Almighty,” “God the powerful one,” or “God, the mighty one.” Shaddai comes from the Hebrew root word shad, meaning “breast.” It gives us a wonderful picture of God as “the one who nourishes, supplies, and satisfies.”
The word Shaddai describes power, but not in the usual mighty sense. It is the power to nourish, to sustain life, to quiet one’s longings. God’s name, El Shaddai, is used 48 times in the Old Testament, 31 of those occurring in the book of Job.
The Hebrew root word shad may seem a bit odd at first glance. But if you have ever held a hungry, crying, restless, or anxious babe in your arms, and then witness the calm that sweeps over him when placed to your breast, you understand.
If you haven’t experienced that firsthand, but witnessed it, you understand. The crying ceases, the restlessness calms, the hunger is satisfied, and anxiousness melts away. And to that child, the mother from whom life-giving, soul satisfying nourishment flows is all-powerful. What a beautiful image of our God who satisfies our every need, calms our every fear, and soothes our every longing. Click & Tweet!
When God appeared to Abraham and introduced the name, El Shaddai, God Almighty, Abraham believed that God was able to accomplish all that He had promised. God’s words were the flow of faith that Abraham needed to nourish his doubts that God would do what He said He would do. It didn’t matter that Abraham was ninety-nine years old. It didn’t matter that Sarah was eighty-nine years old. The laws of nature do not apply to the One who created them. With God, all things are possible. With the revelation of the name, God let Abraham know that He was all-powerful and could do anything He pleased. He was not bound by the laws of nature or fettered by the decisions of man. Nothing could stop His word from coming to pass. Not even a dried-up womb or a withered-up man.
No matter what you’re going through today, you can cling to the truth that God is El Shaddai—The All-Sufficient One. Whatever you need… God is. He has within Himself the life-giving sustenance you need… the life-giving sustenance your heart longs for.
El Shaddai, there is nothing too hard for You. You have everything I need. Forgive me when I root about this earth looking for people, possessions and power to satisfy my deepest longings. You, only You, can truly satisfy the longing of my heart. You are El Shaddai. The Nourisher, Sustainer, and Soother of my soul. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
What is one way that El Shaddai has provided for you during the pandemic. Click comment and let’s share.
Do you long for more in your relationship with God? Well, guess what. God wants it even more. And the good news is that something more does not mean doing more. If you feel something is missing in your spiritual journey, then check out, A Sudden Glory: God’s Lavish Response to Your Ache for Something More. Learn how to experience moments of Sudden Glory as God makes His articulate presence known to you on a daily basis!
Also, a powerful way to pray is to pray the Names of God. Click here to see a laminated prayer card filled with His Names and the Scriptures where they are found.
He was always by my side. He is always protecting me and my family and He will do it again.
Absolutely, Milena. The Lord was almost the only one I had but we have made through what I hope is the worst of the pandemic. I hope you continue doing well.
What an amazing touching and God centered story.
I encountered God as i soaked my heart and head through it’s sacred pages
What I got out of the COVID-19 pandemic was hope. I was living in sin and I heard a sermon by Pastor Greg Laurie and this verse Philippians 1:6 stood out as well as other things. It made me think of my future even though I continued living in sin. Then I heard a sermon by Pastor Maryjo Fullerton from a church in Hawaii sister to New Hope Churches and she also mentioned this verse Ezekiel 36:26. I had this fear that I would have a heart like Pharoah because of my sin. I would go to church just to hear what God would say to me. But I had this hope that God knows my future and it would lead to Him. The pandemic was a wake up call for me and that Jesus is coming soon. I don’t want to go to hell and that means giving up the sin. This is where the decision to choose Jesus or satan is in my face. I thought I can compromise but with God it’s either Jesus or satan. I love Jesus and without Him I am nothing. I love the Christian life but it would mean giving up something that I’m stubborn and love too much to let go. But the rapture is near and I would love so much to be part of it. I need God’s strength to help me with this decision. And I hope and pray that the ending would lead to Heaven and also for this person.
I can’t tell from what you have written if you are a Christian. It sounds like you love God. Have you accepted Jesus as your Savior? Have you acknowledged that He is the son of God who died on a cross for your sins? Have you repented of the wrongs you have done, asked His forgiveness, and invited Him into your heart and life? That is when you are born again and become a Christian. Does that mean you become perfect and never do anything wrong? No. It means He will walk with you and help you as you grow into the person you were created to be in the first place. Sin warps us and makes us miserable in the long run, even if it promises instant gratification at the time. I don’t know what is holding you back, but the Lord does. Maybe you will have to say that you are not willing to give this sin up right now, but you are willing to let Jesus change your heart and give you the strength to do it. Once you accept Jesus as your Savior, you have Him to help you. He loves you and only wants what is best for you. Trust Him. There is so much He has for you. Don’t settle for scraps when He has prepared a banquet for you! I am praying you will make the right decision, Diane
Oh Madelene, your description reminds me of myself in college. I was having sex with my boyfriend and knew it was wrong but didn’t want to give it up-didn’t see how I could really. Fast forward twenty two years and I can assuredly tell you that the sin we cling to is the sin that will ruin us. God commands us not to do things for OUR protection, for OUR good. I married that boyfriend despite many warning signs. I think when you become involved sexually it blinds you, which is good in marriage as it helps forgiveness, but not good in dating. He cheated on me multiple times and we divorced last year. I pray God will give you the strength to overcome the sin you are clinging to because I promise your life will be better without it!
Thank you Sharon! Whatever I need God is! I am praying to God to give me and my husband guidance to a very tough decision in our lives! I want to cling to God no matter what. Thank you for inspiring message
God has kept me both sane and healthy during this pandemic. I started a bible study in one year app and I also spend more time in prayer and studying His word. Our weekly bible study group at church meets weekly via zoom which has been an amazing journey as well. There’s alot to be thankful for! God is amazing always! He will never leave us or forsake us. I’m so blessed to have Jesus, my Saviour! #blessed
I am Felicia from Singapore and as I pen this, I am so thankful to come across your message of hope. Indeed God is my Elshaddai, the One who can calm my fears and provide what I truly need. I am standing on His word today that whatever I need, He is！Whether is financial provision, or wisdom, or breakthrough for a situation , He is my Source!
Jehova Jirah, my provider! 2020 was supposed to be a “banner year” for us. Our family owns a company leading tours to bible lands….on March 6, 2020 we returned unexpectedly from Jerusalem, due to the world pandemic. We all know the financial health of any business and ministry requires money coming in and as you can imagine…no one is goin’ anywhere these days! In anticipation of a great year, we had sold our home before leaving overseas for our winter tour season, with the intent to purchase our dream home outside of Asheville, NC summer of 2020. Ahhhhh, “the best laid plans of men!” The Lord had another plan. A plan to show himself able. Able to provide. Able to sustain. Able to heal. Able to be my “dwelling place” while not having a nest of my own. I could go on and on but praise be to God, he is my provider and sustainer!
I have seen a great work being done by God Almighty in this pandemic. I see evil being exposed and people waking up to see what God is showing us and where we need to be and that is on the side of righteous. I thank God for the people that he is placing in our mist. I see good coming out of evil.
During this pandemic I have received His financial blessings, I have watched His healing, I have seen His peace be received in loss, I have felt His presence within my family by building and strengthening bonds the devil wants to destroy. Glory to God. El Shaddai. Thank you Father.
Thank you for this devotion. Although I have read scores of devotions written by you, Sharon, this one touched me like no other. Now, each time I imagine the comfort, safety, and love felt by a nursing baby, I will be reminded perfectly of my very own El Shaddai.
Thank you Sharon for sharing your message today. I needed it as I am struggling to find my way back to God.
God has blessed me to have enabled my boyfriend to pay off the house and car loan and more and find a job close to home. Also with healing of my 1 son and recovery for another son.
Saludos desde Colombia. Dios se ha manifestado en mi vida como mi Padrws, mi proveedor, sanador, libertador mi ayuda y Shaddai. Gracias por el mensaje, Dios continúa hablándome
He truly is God Almighty……
Provided for us
My hubby is a COVID-19 survivor. We share the same bed
et al and he healed my hubby and shielded me as a took care of him till he was completely healed.
Thank you so much for this devotional. It was a wonderful calm to read this and remember that God soothes us as His children.
Blessings to you.
Thank you, Sharon. I have been in a season of anxiety and despair. Many times, I have felt overwhelmed and not able to leave my bed or home. Though I have been encouraging others through the Word of God, I have not been practicing as diligently as is necessary for the nourishment of my soul. Crying out to God for help just seemed to leave me empty, however with the words of another women’s Bible teacher and the definition that you gave today of “El Shaddai”, I will “try to do something that feeds my soul.” God is gracious, God is good and He holds me in His righteous and powerful right hand.
God used this time of quarantine and separation to rebuild my marriage and rekindle the love that was dying. So grateful for God’s love. Truly El Shaddai.
I’m amazed that my God has provided every need that we have had during the past year, plus more!! We survived covid, my husband and I both got it, and God took care of us! He has proved Himself over and over again throughout this time. How I love Him!!
We are blessed even being alive only is a big miracle I give all the glory and praise to God for the gift of life…God I need your wisdom in a curtain area hear me God …
I love the metaphor of God as that nursing breast. So true that I have never felt so calm, so at peace, and so valued as when I nursed our six children…although there was the initial feeding that may be painful at first, but that goes away. Everything that they needed and what was best for them…the sustaining milk of Mom…a gift from God. I need to remember that it’s not just for the babies, but it is a metaphor to demonstrate the love, care, substance, and provision of all that we need to keep growing is stay close, stay connected, stay safe.
My 3 children and I got COVID-19 early this year and God kept us. Our symptoms were very mild and my youngest was asymptomatic. I am so thankful to Him for keeping us and getting us through a rough time.