I have been busy working on a couple of grant applications that may help fund more ‘random acts of kindness.’ What I believe these small gestures do is restore a bit of hope to people… to let them know that they are not invisible or forgotten, that they are important and that they are worth the effort. In December, our church staff asked me to write a couple devotionals on hope. This is one of them. My inspiration came from a powerful message delivered by Angie Smith at a Women of Faith Conference.
Until recently, I had not associated Hagar with Hope. She was Sarah’s servant. She was also Abraham and Sarah’s “Plan B.” After all, God had promised Abraham and Sarah a son. It just hadn’t happened. Practical circumstances didn’t make it seem likely. For a while, they kept their hope alive, based on God’s promise. Now, they were growing old and losing hope.
Sarah ‘gave’ Hagar to Abraham in hopes that she would become pregnant. Perhaps that would be the way that God fulfilled His promise to them. However, taking matters into their own hands, only made things messier. Hagar treated Sarah with contempt, Sarah got angry with Abraham, Sarah treated Hagar harshly, and Hagar ran away. Sometimes we later despise our own “Plan B”‘s, especially when we know they were borne out of our own reasoning, apart from God’s promise.
The angel of the Lord found Hagar and told her to return to Sarah. He assured her that she would have a son and told her to name him Ishmael. Ishmael means, “God hears.” Abraham was 86 years old when Ishmael was born.
“Then the Lord did exactly what he had promised.” (Gen. 21:1) Sarah became pregnant and gave birth to Isaac. Abraham was 100 years old when Isaac was born. ‘Then’ was 14 years later! How often do we lose hope when things don’t happen according to our own time frame?
In Genesis 21:14-19 we are told that Hagar and Ishmael, (now at least 16), were banished to the wilderness. They were sent on their way with some food and a skin of water. They wandered aimlessly. Now, the water was gone and she feared her son would die. She separated herself from him, sat down and cried. I imagine the hopelessness was overwhelming.
“Then God opened Hagar’s eyes, and she saw a well. She immediately filled her water container and gave the boy a drink.” (Gen. 21:19). It does not say that God created a well to provide for Ishmael’s needs. It says that God opened Hagar’s eyes to the well that was there all along.
Perhaps we have more in common with Hagar than we know.
- Do you feel like someone else’s Plan B?
- Are you wandering in the wilderness wondering how to provide for those you love?
- Do you feel abandoned with scarce provisions?
- Have you run out of hope?
Then, my friend, be encouraged! God opened Hagar’s eyes and she saw a well. He can do the same for you! May your eyes be opened today to His provision in your life. May you see the water in the desert, the provision in the scarcity, the hope in the wilderness. Be filled my friends!
Looking With New Eyes With You,