Hagar: Unwanted and Unloved
Imagine being uprooted from your home and thrown into a life of servitude to a complete stranger who is also a foreigner with a completely different culture. This is exactly what happened to Hagar who is an interesting character in the Bible to say the least. Usually she is thought of in a negative light; a symbol of not waiting on God's plan but recently I came to a thought-provoking realization. She was the first woman that God reached out to in a personal way. Of course she was not the first woman spoken to by God; there was Eve who was reprimanded for her sin and Sarah, confronted for her laugh but Hagar experienced something special.
When she fled from her mistress while pregnant with Ishmael the Bible says, "The angel of the Lord found her by a fountain of water in the wilderness"; he found her which indicates he was looking for her. Here was a woman who was pushed on her master by her mistress to conceive a child which she did. This knowledge caused Hagar to despise Sarah invoking her wrath and a harsh reprimand. Hagar fled from her mistress's face out into the desolate wilderness but her difficult situation did not go unnoticed by God.
With gentleness, He instructs her to return to her mistress but not before giving her a promise to claim; her child would be great. In fact, God tells her that she will have a son, tells her that his seed will be greatly multiplied and even gives him a name, Ishmael meaning God listens. Hagar also has a name for God, "Thou God seest me", an indication that this meeting left an imprint in her soul.
However, this would not be her last encounter with God; almost fourteen years later she would experience the mercy of God. Isaac has now been born and Sarah wants to send Hagar away which, after God telling him it would be all right, Abraham does. Alone in a desolate place she watches her young, teenage son collapse from the heat of the wilderness. Realizing that he was dying she placed him by some nearby shrubs but sat a short distance away because she could not bear to watch him die. There, in her state of brokenness and despair, God reached out to her asking her, "What aileth thee Hagar?" and telling her to fear not for He would make a great nation from her son. In that deserted place God provided water for both, her and her son and was with Ishmael as he grew.
I don't know about you but I personally was greatly encouraged by this thought. Even though Hagar never accepted God fully into her life He still loved her. For me, as His child, I can be assured that He loves me too, faults, shortcomings and all! There will never be a day when He does not love me or want me as His beloved child!
Shake it off and Step up
Years ago, a farmer had an old mule. The mule's name was Ned. For over 20 years, Ned had helped the farmer put in his crops, but now Ned was old and almost blind.
One day, one of the farmer's sons came running into the house. "Dad! Dad!" he yelled. "Ned has fallen into the old, abandoned well out back! What are we going to do?" Dad and the boys ran to the well and surveyed the situation.
Alas, it seemed there was no way to get the old mule out of the hole. The farmer told his sons, "We will just bury old Ned right here. After all, he is almost dead, and this hole needs to be filled up. We will kill two birds with one shot. Boys, go get the shovels."
Soon the boys were back, and they began to shovel dirt down onto old Ned. When the first dirt hit Ned's shoulders, it startled the old mule. He simply shook his shoulders as much as he could in his narrow confines. As each shovel full rained down, old Ned would shake off the dirt and step on it. Shovel after shovel of dirt came down on Ned, but he just kept shaking it off and asking it down with his hooves Pretty soon, the well was almost full, and old Ned simply stepped up out of the well to the safety of the ground. What was supposed to have buried him came his path to life and freedom.
As the dirt of situations and circumstances of life try to bury you, you need to remember old Ned. Just shake it off and step up! Perhaps you will find that what was sent to destroy you will become your deliverance. ~ Dr. Michael Sisson
I came across this little story many years ago and have never forgotten it or its principles. Sometimes there are things people say about you that are not true or situations arise that are extremely difficult but we have the promise of God's grace and strength that enable us to overcome them. Or as Ned did, simply shake it off and step up!
Human rights has been one of the most fought for causes in history; particularly American history. America is known throughout the world for defending the rights of their fellow men. Whether it was the rights for black people to enjoy the same privileges as their fellow white neighbors or women to have equal rights as men. Often it took one person from the “elite” to take a stand for the underdog in order to make a difference. The battle for rights has now made its way into a new arena, the womb. Many believe that an unborn child does not have the same rights as a grown woman. It’s hard to fathom that here in America such an argument could be made. The thought that one person’s rights outweigh another’s seems to go against the very belief that this country was founded upon. However, this is the topic of debate in the area of abortion. Those is the Pro-Choice community believe it is the right of a woman to decide if she wants to carry her child full term because it is her body and her life. Pro-Lifers believe it is vital to the living to protect the unborn. To take away the right to life in the womb threatens the safety of all in society.
Pro-Choice activists say that it is a woman’s right to decide what happens to her and her future. If an unplanned pregnancy gets in the way of that future she should have the right to end that pregnancy. According to Judith Jarvis Thomson (1971), an abortion-rights advocate, an unborn child is nothing more than a parasite taking advantage of the mother. Yet, in order for this argument to work the unborn child has to be dehumanized and made into nothing. Planned Parenthood teaches that what is inside a woman is merely a mass of tissue. It is not viable nor does it feel pain. If it is without feelings then it is not entitled to rights. The rights belong to the one who is grown; the one who is viable and useful to their community.
There is no question that Planned Parenthood is one of the biggest advocates for women’s rights. They say it is her right to choose what happens to her body. It is true that once the child is born it is the mother’s responsibility to take care of it. It is also true that it will be her future that is altered forever if she chooses to have this baby. Planned Parenthood states that the most common reasons women want to have an abortion is to complete school or continue working. Abortion gives her the right to make the best choice for herself and her future. Yet if abortion gives women the right to choose what becomes of the unborn child’s rights? If a child does not have rights from the moment they are conceived then when do those rights begin? When the right to life is taken away from an unborn baby because they are believed to be non-viable or imposing on the rights of a grown adult then society is in danger. When one person’s rights outweigh another’s then the weaker is in peril of losing theirs. Yet when rights are declared equal no matter who’s they are then society is free to flourish.
According to Naomi Wolf, to deny an unborn child the right to life is to deny it a right it cannot live without. If an unborn child is allowed to be stripped of its right to live it will only be a matter of time before others are in danger of theirs. In 1996, Judge Roger Miner stated in a communication with the Second Circuit, "Surely the state's interest lessens [in the life of a person with disabilities] as the potential for life diminishes." Protecting an unborn child’s right to life is foundational for the rights of those who are already born.
As a Christian I believe in the sanctity of life from conception to death. God created man in His image making it valuable and worth defending at all levels.
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I am just an ordinary girl who is loved by an extraordinary God and I seek to love others the same way. I love to bake, read, do puzzles, watch Hallmark movies, and go shopping with my mom! This blog was created as a place where I could share some thoughts that the Lord has shown me and to be an encouragement to others who desire to know Him in a deeper way. My prayer is to learn to sit still and trust God with my future.