I’ve been trying to imagine what Hagar must have been feeling in today’s Genesis passage. She had been misunderstood, mistreated and, ultimately, misplaced. She was an obedient servant who had only done what she was ordered to do. In fact, she had left once before but ultimately obeyed God’s command to return to Abraham and Sarah (Genesis 16). Yet, here she was again, without a home, lost in the wilderness, tired and hungry, watching from a distance waiting for Ishmael to die. She was probably expecting to die herself! Rescue was likely the furthest thing from her mind.
But rescue was exactly what God had planned. He heard Ishmael’s voice and Hagar’s weeping. He sent his angel to comfort Hagar. He opened her eyes to see a well that had been there all along. He provided water for her thirsty boy. He rewarded Hagar’s repeated obedience. Verse 20 says, “And God was with the boy.” (ESV). Ishmael didn’t die! He grew. He became an expert bowman. He got married and had children and lived to be 137! (Genesis 25)
The “wilderness” I’m facing today is very different from Hagar’s. But I’m sure our feelings about it are very much the same: tired, hopeless, resigned to the worst, not expecting a rescue. The same God who heard Ishmael and Hagar hears me, but will I stop worrying and working in my own strength long enough to ask Him to reveal what’s been there all along? Will I obey and act on that thing He’s already shown me? God heard Ishmael and Hagar right where they were (v. 17), but He didn’t want them to stay there. He commanded Hagar to get up, and when He opened her eyes, she acted immediately. (v. 19). I’m sure she was still tired and confused and scared just like I am many times, but when God spoke, she obeyed. Hagar didn’t know what would happen next but, in that moment, at what was probably the lowest point of her life, she chose obedience AGAIN. God honored her choice, and He will do the same for me. I know from experience that it may not be exactly what I want or when I want it (in fact, it’s usually not!), but I can cry out from my own “wilderness”, asking God for eyes to see and a heart to obey. My cries never go unheard, and my obedience never goes unrewarded.
Father, thank you that, regardless of my feelings or actions, You are always watching and working out Your perfect plan for me. Give me humility to ask for Your direction, eyes to see Your leading, and a heart that is willing to obey.