We all have pieces of our lives no one understands. Whether it’s a child with a disability, a difficult marriage, invisible pain, infertility, wayward children, addiction, or anything else, each soul knows its own sorrow. While a supportive family, church, and community reflect the Father’s love, and are cherished gifts, they will fall short. They must.
I have found the hard way, the-melting-down-ugly-because-of-unmet-expectations way, that these times when no one really “gets it,” are gifts, too. These are the times when only the Comforter can satisfy. I’ve missed Him so many times trying to get comfort elsewhere, but He is weaning me from it. What a gift to find He really is enough.
Here is where I found Hagar’s secret. It was different than I had ever seen it. Hagar was in focus, while Abram and Sarai blurred. Hagar was a slave. She had no choice when she was told to make a baby with Abram. She just followed orders. Then Hagar got pregnant and Hagar despised Sarai, and Sarai mistreated Hagar. And Abram stood by and permitted it all. Hagar hadn’t asked for any of it, and she ran away. The Angel of the Lord found her and asked her where she came from and where she was going. She told Him all about Sarai. She told him all her troubles. He told Hagar that she would have a son and that his descendants would be more than she could imagine. She was to call him, Ishmael, which means “God hears, because God had heard her misery.”
God has heard your misery.
“She gave this name to the Lord who spoke to her: “You are the God who sees me,” for she said, “I have now seen the One who sees me.””
And here is the Gift, to see the one who sees you. To see His Eyes, calm and kind in all our grief. Somehow looking at Peaceful Eyes brings me right into peace.
Being pregnant, loveless, and staying where He has planted you is hard. Going back to a jealous mistress is impossible, unless you know that there is a God who sees and hears that has a future for you. He is Just and Justifier.
God went looking for Hagar. It doesn’t tell us what Hagar’s understanding of God had been up to this point, but it seems likely that she had heard about Him, but not known Him. She probably thought of Him as her master’s God, disinterested in a slave. She wasn’t looking for Him, but God was looking for her. God sees. He hears. Whatever invisible pain you are in, He knows. Even when you’re in a crowd and you’re lonely, you’re never alone. Even when it seems like no one can handle your brand of messed up. We are always known.
There’s a fancy word for how God appeared to Hagar in this passage. Scholars call this a Christophany, where Christ appears in the Old Testament. Significantly, this is the first time He chose to do this. The first time Christ appeared was to a hopeless outsider. Isn’t that His way? He is so near to the broken-hearted.
In the season that He spoke to me about Hagar, I felt like I didn’t belong anywhere. I preferred people who didn’t know me, because I didn’t know myself in that moment and couldn’t fit these new pieces with the other pieces I’d once felt so sure of. I felt like a complete outsider, even to myself.
Finally, when I was ready, God whispered to my heart, “Anywhere I am welcome, you belong, because you’re Mine.” He gave me the reassurance to stay, wait on Him, and trust Him with all my relationships- the ones that thought they knew, the ones that would never try to understand, and the ones that would try to understand.
And just because you don’t think you fit in with God’s people, doesn’t mean you don’t have a purpose. God had a plan for Hagar and her offspring, even years later when Abram threw her out. He warned her that her offspring would be wild and hostile, but God kept His word. He kept that boy alive when she had no way of providing for him. He has preserved her seed through all these millenniums and prospered them beyond what Hagar ever could have imagined. He continues to visit them and reveal Himself to many of them supernaturally to this day. I thank God that He sees everything, and He always understands, and He gives outsiders who turn to Him a place at the table in the Kingdom. He asks us to do hard things, but never in our own strength and never alone.
If you’re interested in how God continues to pursue Hagar’s offspring, feel free to watch this video: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=ptBadipVfLE
Or read this article: http://www1.cbn.com/onlinediscipleship/visions-of-jesus-stir-muslim-hearts