And she called the name of the Lord that spake unto her, Thou God seest me: for she said, Have I also here looked after him that seeth me? Genesis 16:13
In Genesis 16, we see Hagar’s life was affected by the decisions of the authorities above her who had little thought of her feelings and relatively no compassion for her situation. Hagar was forced to play a part in her mistress, Sarai’s, plan. She was used for her ability to produce children, and then she was further wronged for her negative responses to the situation.
After suffering Sarai’s abuse, Hagar chose to run away. She ran into the wilderness without knowing where she was going or how to get there. Did she consider how far she would need to travel through the dessert alone, pregnant and without adequate supplies?
Have we ever done the same thing–run away from a situation because it seems too large to handle? Unable to handle the pressure, we run to get a fresh start. We run to escape the hurt. But did we run into the unknown with little to no preparation?
When Hagar ran, she wound up dropping in despair by a fountain. A heavenly messenger met her there and showed compassion. He urged her to return to Abram and Sarai and to submit. Basically, he was saying that Hagar needed an attitude adjustment. She needed to submit to authority and turn her problems over to the Higher Power. God was in control, and she could rely on Him.
The messenger told Hagar that God saw her pain and would bless her child and make him a great nation. How reassuring those words must have been to the troubled woman! She was to name her child Ishmael, “because the Lord hath heard thy affliction.” Can you even imagine what it must have been like to be a runaway, pregnant slave lost in the wilderness and to be visited by a heavenly being?
Society said you had no worth, but the Creator of the Universe said you were worth visiting and worth blessing.
It is the same today. The very same God who heard Hagar’s afflictions hears our afflictions! He hears the cruel words spoken to us in the locker room. He hears the lies spoken behind our backs. He hears the insulting words that put us in our place. He hears the lies we tell ourselves. He hears the shattering of our hearts when those around us have no idea we are hurting.
What I find most comforting is that God not only hears these things, but He helps! He restores me.
Psalm 23:3 says, “He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.”
At some point, all of us will have Hagar moments. Life will bring unexpected challenges that are beyond our control. We will feel oppression, weakness, helplessness. We will feel used. Loneliness will assail us, and we will long for understanding and love. At these low points, how can we remember Hagar and El-Roi, the God who sees and hears our afflictions? How will this perspective change our perception of the current circumstances? How can we know that God will make a way through the problems to complete restoration?
If you want to learn more about Hagar, check out yesterday’s article here. Take time to read this account through the eyes of Hagar!