In the Midst of Sorrow

The reading today, Genesis 20-22, provided many resources for more profound thought and reflection. We see Sarah and Abraham’s trick on Abimelech that nearly cost the king his life, the birth of Isaac, and the ultimate sacrifice pitting father against son. Where do we start? Each story provides opportunities to share pertinent ideas about the relationship between God and His people.

The story that caught my eye almost always goes unnoticed. It is the accounting of Hagar (Gen. 21:8-21). We might look and think, “How petty is Sarah that she should harbor ill will against her husband’s son?” She is the one who insisted that Abraham have a child with her servant. Situations may change, but promises do not.

So Abraham does Sarah’s dirty work and casts Hagar and Ishmael out of the area. Things are okay for a while, but then Hagar runs out of water given to her. She leaves Ishmael and sits with her back to him for fear she would catch a glimpse of panic and starvation in his eyes. At this moment, in the middle of her deepest grief when nothing seems to help, God calls to her.

Did you hear that? God called to Hagar. He comforts her and assures her this is not the end. There is much more to do and see. “My promise I made to you will not go unanswered.”

We certainly know what it feels like to feel hopeless and at the end of our rope. We cry out, sobbing to God. “Why did this happen to me?” Our soul feels like it will break with pain.

In the moments of our greatest struggles, God calls out to us. The message may be soft or loud, but it comes from the same place. The voice that encourages us to get up and rise. The One, who reminds us over and over again that His promises will be fulfilled.

On this day, let us be grateful for Hagar’s example and get up and be restored to wholeness. Let us praise our God who continues to redeem us and bring us to new life. The author of unending love assured us that there will never be a time that we will walk the path by ourselves. Praise be to God for divine guidance.

Published by joekmac

I am a pastor in the United Methodist Tradition. I am the Pastor of First United Methodist Church of Belen in the New Mexico Annual Conference. I am married to Cazandra and have two sons with hemophilia.

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