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Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Wednesday Woman: Hagar

Abraham, father of the
When we hear about the Matriarchs of the Bible, no one ever talks about Hagar.  After all, she was single and homeless.  Not exactly the kind of woman society emulates.

But there was much more to Hagar.  She was a strong woman – even a strong mother.

So, what’s her story?

In short, she was a slave who got kicked out of Abraham’s house because her son, Ishmael, was illegitimate.  Even though Abraham was Ishmael’s biological father, Abraham couldn’t raise Ishmael under the same roof with his wife, Sarah, and his promised son Isaac.

Hagar – a mere maidservant -- wasn’t welcome anymore.

The only problem? She was a single mom, and she had a son to take care of.  And she had no where to go.  It’s not like she had her own income, her own resources, or her own property.  Hagar was truly alone.  She headed into the desert with no food or water.  Probably without hope.

Hagar might have died in the desert, along with her son.  But God saw her pain.  He reached down and sent an angel to comfort her, and miraculously provided a well.  He also gave her a promise:

Then the angel of God called to Hagar out of heaven, and said to her, “What ails you, Hagar? Fear not, for God has heard the voice of the lad where he is. Arise, lift up the lad and hold him with your hand, for I will make him a great nation.” Genesis 21:17-18

Did Hagar mock God?  Did she tell him that he had already done enough damage?  Or, did she persevere and determine not to give up, even though life didn’t turn out as planned?

You guessed it, Hagar didn’t give up.  And her son went on to survive and build a strong nation.

Lots of mothers in our generation can relate to Hagar.  Mothers who feel like they’re in the middle of the desert.  Mothers who go to bed at night thinking, How am I going to survive, let alone support my children?  Does God even see my pain?

When the going gets tough, remember the story of Hagar.  Even though Hagar was ready to give up, she didn’t.  And, more importantly, God didn’t give up on Hagar.


Laura said...

Great post. I especially like your last comment -- God didn't give up on Hagar.

In one of my boys' favorite movies, The Count of Monte Cristo, he says, "I don't believe in God." His faithful friend answers, "But He believes in you!"

Graceful said...

Ah yes, good Hagar...I love her. I can always relate to the gritty, downtrodden characters in the Bible best!

Susan DiMickele said...

Yes, I think a lot of us can relate to Hagar.