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Posts Tagged ‘Hagar’

“Suppose your mother baked a pie and there were six of you — your mother, your father and four children. What percentage of the pie would you get?” a teacher asked her students.

“One-fifth,” said one boy.

The teacher responded, “I’m afraid you don’t know your fractions. Remember, there are six of you.”

“I know,” said the boy, “but you don’t know my mother. She would say she didn’t want any pie so we could have more.”  (Author Unknown)

As mother’s, aren’t we about giving, sharing, and encouraging?  There are times, though, when a mother has nothing left to give, little to share, and few words of encouragement for the children in her life–especially when she’s parenting alone and is both mother and father.

I’ve been there several times.  With a husband in the Navy, I’ve survived three long deployments.  One with a newborn and toddler, the next with two preschoolers, and another with a 6-year-old, 7-year-old, and two teenaged boys (need I say more?).

I would guess some of you have been there, too…military wives, single moms, women with husbands who travel frequently, or those with guys who–for whatever reason–disengage from family life.

The great news is that regardless of the situation, every mother can rely on God by taking four simple steps–like my friend Jen.

The first time Jen and I met, I was struck by her honesty and haunted eyes.  She had only just arrived in Colorado after having travelled across the country in a beat-up van with several children.  At night, when her eyes could no longer focus, Jen would pull to the side of the road where she and the family slept for a few hours.  But, as miles of unfamiliar scenery unfolded in front of her, hope began growing in Jen’s chest—hope for her children and herself.  Why?  Because Jen had escaped from a life of abuse to a life of promise– much like Hagar, the woman whose name meant “stranger”.

Hagar.  We don’t know much about her, but some Rabbinical texts suggest she may have been pharaoh’s daughter—a gift to Sarai during her time in the king’s harem.   Or, like so many others, perhaps Hagar was a poor girl whose family wanted to assure she would be given food and shelter.  Princess or pauper, Hagar was a young Egyptian woman who had been a servant for 10 years in a foreign land.

She was alone, destitute, and given to an old man out of her mistresses desperation.  The goal?  Surrogate motherhood.

Fast forward a few months—an 85 year-old man and a beautiful slave-girl in her mid-20’s have conceived a child together.  For the first time in years, Hagar felt pride.  A child!  Someone she could love and who would love her in return.

But, Hagar’s pride got in the way.  She flaunted her growing belly and offended Sarai.  Hard work and maltreatment followed.  Finally, after enduring another beating, Hagar ran away.  She wept—tears of shame, tears of loneliness, tears of hopelessness.  Hagar was a stranger once again—except to God.

Look over the following account from Genesis 16.

The angel of the Lord found Hagar beside a spring of water in the wilderness, along the road to Shur. 8 The angel said to her, “Hagar, Sarai’s servant, where have you come from, and where are you going?”

“I’m running away from my mistress, Sarai,” she replied.

9 The angel of the Lord said to her, “Return to your mistress, and submit to her authority.” 10 Then he added, “I will give you more descendants than you can count.”

Thereafter, Hagar used another name to refer to the Lord, who had spoken to her. She said, “You are the God who sees me.”[a]

Hagar had been wandering aimlessly; now she worshipped El Roi (El Raw-ee)—the God who sees.

Notice that God didn’t remove her from her current situation.  Instead, he responded to her cries of distress, sought her out, and comforted her with his presence and his promises.  Hagar’s story doesn’t end there.  In Genesis 21, we find Hagar in another situation—that of single parent.

…and on the day Isaac was weaned Abraham held a great feast. 9 But Sarah saw that the son whom Hagar the Egyptian had borne to Abraham was mocking, 10 and she said to Abraham, “Get rid of that slave woman and her son, for that woman’s son will never share in the inheritance with my son Isaac.”

 11 The matter distressed Abraham greatly because it concerned his son. 12 But God said to him, “Do not be so distressed about the boy and your slave woman. Listen to whatever Sarah tells you, because it is through Isaac that your offspring[b] will be reckoned. 13 I will make the son of the slave into a nation also, because he is your offspring.”

 14 Early the next morning Abraham took some food and a skin of water and gave them to Hagar. He set them on her shoulders and then sent her off with the boy. She went on her way and wandered in the Desert of Beersheba.

 15 When the water in the skin was gone, she put the boy under one of the bushes. 16 Then she went off and sat down about a bowshot away, for she thought, “I cannot watch the boy die.” And as she sat there, she[c] began to sob.

 17 God heard the boy crying, and the angel of God called to Hagar from heaven and said to her, “What is the matter, Hagar? Do not be afraid; God has heard the boy crying as he lies there. 18 Lift the boy up and take him by the hand, for I will make him into a great nation.”

And, ladies, listen to this!! 20 God was with the boy as he grew up.

Did you notice the word “wandered”?  Hagar “wandered in the dessert”.   The Hebrew word used to describe her “wandering” means to go astray.  Here she is…in the desert a second time…without a GPS and in need of direction.  Don’t you think she would call out to God, El Roi, the One who Sees?  But Hagar forgot to look for Him.  Instead, the Lord responded to the cries of the boy.  His words?  “What is the matter, Hagar?  Do not be afraid?”

Isn’t this a beautiful picture of God’s love for us?  When we find ourselves in the midst of the desert, unsure of which way to turn, and fearing the worst our first step is to call out in  our distress, our weakness, and our wandering to The God Who Sees.

Today’s Prayer

Lord, thank you for sharing the gift of motherhood with me.  My desire is to glorify you in my parenting and to bless these children as I seek to point them toward you.  Father, show me how to rely on you in all I do today.  Amen

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She was lost, thirsty, and desperate for a rescuer.  Then, God showed up–to save a woman who didn’t even know Him.  Have you heard the story of Hagar?  It’s one of my favorites and one I’ve latched onto this year.

I love that El Roi–the God who sees–met Hagar in a lonely, frightened place.

I love that He comforted her in a desperate time.

I love that the God of the world bent down from Heaven’s throne to gather Hagar’s tears and offered tender promises for her son’s future.

Did you know that the God of all compassion and mercy is offering Himself to you today?  He wants to be your Rescuer, Comforter, and Promise Keeper.

I just wanted you to know.

Scripture for reflection Genesis 21

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