Hagar is not often listed among our Bible heroes. She's not even mentioned in the hall of faith among those who believed against all hope, like Abraham. She is referenced in Galatians 4, where Paul is explaining that as believers, we are "sons" of the Seed and NOT connected to the "bondwoman," Hagar. Hagar's son, Ishmael, was not the son of the promise. He is used to represent the flesh and bondage. That's kind of sad, I think. Remember, Abraham got a little impatient and listened to Sarah when she suggested that it would be "easier" to help God out since He was taking so long. Abraham did as Sarah suggested, and it just turned into a big mess from there, leaving Hagar in a rejected mess.
But the story of Hagar's rejection and out-of-the-norm story can be a source of encouragement. Hagar was minding her own business, living her life serving Sarah. By no mistake of her own, it got all messed up. Like me - she didn't always deal with her situation with wisdom or patience. She wasn't perfect. Yet we have the accounts where God met with her, not just once - but twice!
We've talked a lot about Genesis 16 and how Hagar realized that God could indeed see her in her complicated state. But there's a nugget I discovered in the second meeting place in Genesis 21. In chapter 16, Hagar was pregnant with her son. In chapter 21, he is older. Abraham sent her and her son (his son, too, I might add) away with some bread and water. She took her son and started out across the wilderness. When the water Abraham had given her was gone, she thought for sure death was imminent. She sat down and looked the other way so she wouldn't see her son die. As she sat there in despair, God called to her.
Hagar, the rejected. Hagar, the homeless. Hagar, the caregiver for her son. Hagar, the not-so-perfect servant. God called to her. It doesn't even say that she was praying but that she was crying. God then gives Hagar the promise that He'll make Ishmael a great nation, too. He assures her that He heard the voice of the lad. At that point - the point of her greatest need, she saw the well. The well had been there - she just hadn't seen it. But God let her see it just in time.
I don't see that she was even technically seeking God. But He sought her out! He showed her the way to life (the well). Sometimes, in our darkest moments, we really are not even sure what or how to pray. God gets that. He steps in every time and rescues our souls from despair. Just when we are sure we cannot (or will not) handle one more thing - He shows us the well of living water that we have in Christ. The well that lives IN us. There is no disconnect or discontinuation when we become caregivers. We still have the living water Jesus promised, but sometimes, we need to see Him or hear Him to find it.
Today, I'll remind myself that God knows where the well is at! I'll take a second to focus on Him and let Him show me the way to the Well. My thoughts will be on how caregiving, despair, loss, or trauma cannot keep Him away. I'll remind myself that He draws nearer in those moments instead of moving away. Today, I'll cherish the truth that He has come near and stays near. I'll acknowledge that He sees me and hears me - even when it doesn't feel like it. I know He's got me today. So, I'll just trust Him for this day - will you join me?