Saturday, September 4, 2010

Women of Faith - Hagar.

Hagar - Headed Nowhere Fast.
You know how someone will tell you a story, and it seems like that's all there is to it? Then another person who was there will come and give their side of the story, and it seems completely different. Sometimes we forget that there are two sides to a story - even something as famous and well-known as a Bible story. When I saw the highlight for Hagar in my Bible, I wasn't too thrilled. I considered skipping over this as a topic - I mean, it's just Hagar. There isn't anything too special about her - Sarah messed up and made her get pregnant with Abraham so that "Sarah" would have a son, and it turned out to be a big, bad idea, and Hagar was, in all sense, completely screwed over. Why would I want to write a post about her?
Then I read the highlight. I was blown away; I had never put myself into Hagar's shoes before. She deserved to be highlighted in my blog, I decided.
Here's why.
In Genesis 16, we first learn of Hagar. She's Sarah's - then Sarai - servant, and that's about all we know of her. God promised Abram/Abraham and Sarai/Sarah a son (read my Women of Faith highlight on Sarah to get the full story: Women of Faith - Sarah. ) and both of them were old, old, old. Sarah thought, there's not a chance that I'll have a son in my old age! So what does she do? She tells her husband to sleep with her servant, Hagar, so that they may have the son that God promised.
Now, think about it. You're working for an older couple, and God tells them that they're going to have a son. Time passes, and it gets more and more improbable. Then, all of a sudden, your mistress comes and says, "Hey girl, go make me a sandwich. By the way, you're off tonight because you have to sleep with my husband. I want a son, and I'll get one - through you."
Say what?
Poor Hagar didn't have a say AT ALL in this! She just did what she was ordered to do, and pretty soon she was pregnant with her son, who was named Ishmael.
God obviously didn't have a part in this, and He was ticked. That's not how He planned it, and not at all what he told them to do. Pretty soon, Abraham and Sarah realized this, and then Hagar was stuck in an already bad situation - about to be made a lot worse. She could have done many things - stayed there and dealt with it, for example. But what does she do? She runs off.
She encounters an angel in the desert, who she talks to for a while until being convinced to go back home. That angel had two very imporant questions for her: What was she running away from? Being mistreated. A pretty uncomfortable living situation. An inferiority complex - knowing she would always be second best to the "real" wife, and she was essentially a mistake. However, besides all the awful things that Hagar was running away from, God called her to also examine where she was going.
Like Hagar, we're never really "standing still" in life. We may try and avoid our problems by running away...but where are we going? To better choices? A promising future? Or are we like Hagar, sitting in the desert - going nowhere fast? She began to realize that maybe she didn't know how to take care of business on her own.
When we hit a crisis on our road, what's our first instinct? Run away and hide, if we can? Sometimes it seems like we're completely positive that we know exactly what we're doing - until God comes along and asks us to consider our ways.
Here's your NR challenge for this post. I challenge you to see what you're running from. School or college? Work? Family problems or arguements with friends? Realize that whatever it is, it won't work. Turn everything over to God, and see that only He can fix things. Wait too long, and you'll be stranded and things will look even worse. Always remember, though, that no matter what, God will be there. Life isn't fair sometimes - take the lesson from Hagar! Even so, though, God can take something rough and make it something absolutely amazing.
Are you in?


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