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Genesis 16:1-16, Genesis 21:8-21, Psalm 56:8

I have a very little baby right now. I spend most of my hours nursing her or holding her. And when she finally happens to be sleeping somewhere that’s not my arms I’m able to do other things. But the problem is my list of “necessaries” has become so long and so urgent that I can’t even decide where to begin. I lay the baby down and just stand still with glazed-over eyes, thinking, Where do I begin? This morning while she napped, I gaped at my list with sheer, uncomprehending panic. I couldn’t set myself on a course. And if you can’t find a place to start, and then stick with your plan, nothing ever gets done. I spend the moments in between nursing sessions drifting from task to task. Homeschooling, housecleaning, writing, trying to be present and available. But these responsibilities stack on top of each other, and I inevitably find my mind aimlessly wandering.

Even the most focused among us are prone to wander. We allow ourselves little, innocent wanderings (like idly wondering if hummingbirds fly to Puerto Rico in the winter) or wide, damaging veers off the course (like refusing to forgive). And sometimes we flat-out run away. That’s what Hagar did. Sarai, later renamed Sarah, treated her maidservant harshly, and pregnant Hagar ran from her, into the wilderness. But the Lord saw her. He gives grace to those who can’t seem to take anymore.

Do you find yourself in her shoes sometimes? Not, ahem, the impregnated maidservant of a biblical patriarch so much, but by yourself in the wilderness? Those who stray, those who run, are nevertheless beloved by Him. He still attended and cared for Hagar in the desert, and He does the same for us.

God sees us even when we can no longer see straight. His providence encompasses us no matter where we go. This is not a reason to excuse and condone waywardness, but it’s a reminder of the goodness and graciousness of God, a provocation to gratefulness and an exhortation to run to Him.

He didn’t see Hagar because of anything she’d done. We aren’t told she had faith like Abraham’s. We read nothing about her devotion to God or to righteousness. As Sarai’s maidservant, she didn’t have much of a choice in the matter when it came to bearing Ishmael. And when Sarai was mean to her, she ran off in disobedience. Of course, we can all empathize with her, but the fact of the matter is, God saw Hagar and comforted her in the desert because He is good, not because Hagar was. And that is good news for all who wander.

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82 thoughts on "Hagar"

  1. Curious says:

    I understand God’s goodness.

    Hagar’s story isn’t comforting. Life was cruel to her no fault of her own. She was forced into every situation.

    What exactly became of her? It seems her worth still limited to her male child’s legacy.

    Did Hagar ever enjoy a full life: Freedom, Financial independence, requited love and social stability?

    We know that Sarai got to rejoice. Did Hagar?

  2. Shonda T says:

    I’m in need of God’s Grace on today, and I am so grateful HE SEES ME!!!

  3. Natalie H says:

    I think it would be good for everyone to realize that slavery in the Old Testament was much different then the 17th and 18th century slavery we are more familiar with. If one fell on hard time you would go work for a household as a slave. In return for your good service, the masters would take very good care of you. Feed , cloth and house you. Hagar would have had a good relationship with her masters and have been treated very well, just like family. And she could’ve left at any time and that’s why when she was being mistreated she decided to leave, and she had the right to leave. The Bible never says that Abraham forced himself on her, so we cannot assume that she was raped. It’s very possible that she agreed to be taken as a wife, like the scripture says, and maybe planned on staying apart of the family for the rest of her years. Hopefully this will help put a lot of you at ease. You’ve got to now the culture at the time to fully understand what is happening.

  4. Amber Trimble says:

    Thank you Lord for loving me, not because of who I am, but because of who you are!

  5. Ava Anderson says:

    “You are a God of seeing”, is what really relates to me…at times I may feel forgotten, but I will always remember He is a seeing God…Amen

  6. Jamie Chapman says:

    I love this so much. Such beautiful insight. Thank you. You are seen!

  7. Maggie Kirby says:

    What strikes me every time when I read this section is how Sarai is jealous of Hagar even though it was her idea! She forces Hagar into a marriage where she’s raped and then Hagar gets abused and flees. I’m so thankful that God was with Hagar during these times, because, while we don’t know for sure, she was struggling mentally and physically.