Glenn and I have made the comment numerous time these past few weeks: “I don’t know how single parents do this!” We are doing well with our little one, but we know it is due in a large part to having each other and a wonderful “village” of support around us. I am especially grateful for parents who love on our little one and take care of us.
Given that Glenn and I expect to end up away from family and existing social support (going into the mission field) we are sure to have seasons where we feel isolated. For those of you in such a season I want to encourage you by what I’ve been reading in Genesis this past week.
On two accounts, God appears to Hagar when she felt isolated and alone. Hagar was only a maidservant. She was seen as property, to be treated as her mistress would.
When Hagar fell pregnant to Abraham, Sarai become jealous and dealt harshly with Hagar. Hagar fled, but she had no where to go. Enter God. Hagar was not merely a maidservant to Him. She was precious and valuable, and so was her child.
God encouraged Hagar and His angel told her: “Behold, you are pregnant and shall bear a son. You shall call his name Ishmael, because the LORD has listened to your affliction. (Genesis 16:11). So she called the name of the LORD who spoke to her, “You are a God of seeing,” for she said, “Truly here I have seen him who looks after me.” (Genesis 16:13).
Ishmael means: “God will hear”**. God heard Hagar and He saw her in the wilderness. He hears you, too, in your wilderness seasons. Stay hopeful, trusting in Him.
I’m blaming my new mother hormones for the tears I shed reading this next passage. Time passed and Sarai also bore a son to Abraham. But Sarai was still jealous of Hagar. She pleaded with Abraham to send Hagar away. This grieved Abraham, but God assured Abraham that it would be okay so Hagar was sent away from security and provision with only bread and a skin of water.
Where was Hagar to go? Who was to care for her? She wandered in the wilderness until the skin ran out. Then: . . . she put the child under one of the bushes. Then she went and sat down opposite him a good way off, about the distance of a bowshot, for she said, “Let me not look on the death of the child.” And as she sat opposite him, she lifted up her voice and wept. (Genesis 21:15-16).
And God heard the voice of the boy, and the angel of God called to Hagar from heaven and said to her, “What troubles you, Hagar? Fear not, for God has heard the voice of the boy where he is. Up! Lift up the boy, and hold him fast with your hand, for I will make him into a great nation.” (Genesis 21:17-18).
Then God opened her eyes, and she saw a well of water. And she went and filled the skin with water and gave the boy a drink. And God was with the boy, and he grew up. He lived in the wilderness and became an expert with the bow. (Genesis 21:19-20).
When you feel like you’re lost in the wilderness . . . When you feel like you are all alone . . . When you feel like your life in valueless in the eyes of those around you . . . When you are desperate and at your strength’s end . . . trust in the Lord. Know that He sees and hears you. Know that He cares for you.
**Reference: Strong’s Hebrew and Greek Dictionaries. Dictionaries of Hebrew and Greek Words taken from Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance by James Strong, S.T.D., LL.D., 1890.