The Question in the Desert

What was done to her was really unthinkable.  I mean, seriously, how could a wife willingly give her servant to her husband and not expect the fallout to be intense and difficult?  For those who say the Bible is boring and outdated, I beg to offer you the story of Abram, Sarai, and Hagar. It literally sounds like one of today’s more odd and bizarre headlines.  If you’d like a quick brush-up, I encourage you to read Genesis Chapter 16.

Probably one of the main points which is often pulled from this story is the amazing fact that God actually sees and cares about the mistreated servant girl, Hagar.  Seriously, God has just devoted an entire chapter of scripture to telling about His covenant with Abraham, His chosen, and yet He still takes time to know exactly what is going on in the life of a young single woman who literally became a pawn in a human plan run amok.  Hagar can hardly believe God would send one of His angels to specifically check on her, encourage her, and strengthen her. And after being incredibly overwhelmed, she speaks, “You are the God who sees me. I have now been seen by the One who sees me.”

That’s a powerful truth to hang onto, Dear Reader.  To acknowledge when it’s all falling apart, when others have made decisions for which we bear the brunt and pain, and when it doesn’t feel as if anyone cares, God is still with us, still cares for us, and is still working to bring beauty from the ashes.

But as I was reading in Genesis this morning, it still wasn’t that portion of scripture which blew me away.  It was the following: “The angel of the Lord found Hagar near a spring in the desert. And he said, ‘Hagar, slave of Sarai, where have you come from and where are you going?’”

At the risk of sounding like the song, Cotton-Eye Joe, what really jumped out at me was the question Hagar was asked.  Where have you come from and where are you going? I was also struck by the fact that even though Hagar was in a desert . . . she was still near a spring.  Everything around her was dry, lifeless, endless, and uncomfortable. Yet, there was a spring nearby.

I started thinking through the metaphorical desert I feel I’ve been in for the last 3 ½ years.  Yes, it’s been dry and has sometimes felt lifeless. It is an understatement to say it feels endless.  Uncomfortable? I wouldn’t wish it on anyone. But at every twist, every turn, every high, and every low there has been a spring right nearby.  A spring of refreshment. A spring of encouragement. A spring of hope. Maybe it was some medical progress. Maybe it was the first time I ran errands in town and nobody pressed me to hear the awful details of the wreck.  Maybe it was a financial gift the exact amount to cover the new wheelchair tires. Dear Reader, when I start focusing on the “springs,” I realize the springs have been everywhere. We may be in a desert, but my goodness, praise God He is providing you and me with springs, if we only choose to see them!

And what about that question?  Where have you come from and where are you going?  When in pain and dealing with tragedy it is so easy to focus on the now.  Focusing on where you’ve come from is too difficult. Just a simple picture of your “old normal life” can potentially send you spinning.  At least it can for me. But I also must remember where I came from is being pinned in a van on an interstate. If someone had told me that first hour immediately following the wreck all of us would live, we wouldn’t lose our home due to medical bills, we would actually smile and laugh again, and we would often times be able to see all of this as the blessing it is rather than the curse some want to make of it, I would have never believed it.  

Folks, where I’ve come from is near death.  That’s quite a journey.

And where am I going?  Well that’s an even more pleasant thought upon which to dwell.  I am going to Heaven! The worries, burdens, stresses, and heartaches will one day be long, long gone.  Because God is willing to forgive my stubborn, prideful, bull-headed self, I will one day spend forever with Him.

God took care of a discarded mistreated servant girl.

God is taking care of a family who wrecked and tries to roll with its ramifications.

And Dear Reader, whatever you are dealing with, God is taking care of you!

Until the next Wednesday the Lord allows.