Thursday, January 20, 2011

hagar and the "horrible"

i have been reading the story of Abraham the last few days. the story is familiar, yes, but this time Hagar's story is something that i have paid closer attention to... i think about Hagar and how she must have felt so cheated, so abandoned and definitely alone. we know the story, Abraham uses Hagar to have a son, because Sarah hadn't conceived a child yet. of course like any normal woman would respond, Sarah is quite upset when the plan actually works. Hagar leaves angry Sarah and goes into the wilderness. here God meets her and tells her to name her son Ishmael, meaning God hears. Hagar goes on to tell the Lord "you are a God of seeing". the two are out of the picture for several chapters and then a little later on come back onto the set. once again, Sarah is upset and tells Abraham that she wants them to leave. when God tells Abraham to do as Sarah said, he does and the two leave. while in the wilderness they run out of water, and once again God provides and tells Hagar that He will make Ishmael into a great nation. God was with them and took care of them, even in the midst of unimaginable circumstances.

i think about this story and i think about how God told Abraham to do what Sarah said she wanted... to get rid of Hagar, to send her away with her young son?! this seems crazy and yet i was reminded of awesome truth while i was reading through this today. i think, no, i know, that sometimes in life, it is really hard to figure out why things are happening. as believers, sometimes it is even harder knowing that God is in control of our lives and circumstances and yet these things are still taking place. things that hurt, things that seem like they would be the exact opposite of what a loving God would set us up with.... i think about Hagar and how her situation was really unbelievable. and then i see the provision of God behind it all and i wonder if i were reading my story thousands of years down the road how i would see the provision and hand of God behind it. i know it would be there... even in this story, attributes of God are proclaimed. He is a God who hears and a God who sees. our broken lives and the hurt that is a part of them is seen and heard by Almighty God. so why is it not all changed... and here i think is the golden nugget in all of this... the hope of God is found in these things... His provision is seen and given in these moments... what i mean by all of this is that we find hope not in what happens here but in what God is ultimately doing. to bring about what needed to be accomplished in Hagar's and Ishmael's lives these things had to happen. i am also reminded that my life is bigger than myself. you see for the promise of God to happen, for the covenant to be fulfilled through Abraham and Isaac these things had to happen. this is so key! my life is bigger than me. do i want God's purposes accomplished or not? this is really what it comes down to! do i trust my Savior or am i not quite sure about really being ok with His plans? will i stand and complain about the ways that God is accomplishing his purposes, for my life and possibly even bigger things than that?

i look at this story and i see a plan and a purpose brought about by our God in the midst of hard circumstances. hope is given in knowing that if i were reading my own story, God's hand and purposes would be overwhelming throughout it as well.