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!
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!
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.
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