When you feel abandoned
Scripture: Genesis 16:1-16
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Take It Further: Hagar: Lessons of Worth by Niki Mullis
In my small thirty-nine years of life, I am learning that Rough and Holy is the path most traveled as I clumsily and comically attempt to live the life God is giving me. This series is wrecking me in a challenging way that is deepening my faith in Jesus. As I was reading Hagar’s story, I thought of the emotions she may have felt as Abram and Sarai identified her only as, “my slave,” or, “your slave.” How her worth was lessened. Did she feel unloved, unseen, unheard, lonely, scared, or unworthy as she fled their abuse?
I may not relate to Hagar’s situation, but I can relate to the emotions she experienced as recorded in Genesis 16. In the past, I fled from things out of fear, despair, and loneliness, and ran right into situations that were spiritually, emotionally, and mentally harming. I did not know this at that time because counterfeit love filled something in me temporarily. I have wrestled with doubt, called out to Jesus, and asked, Do you even know I am here? God, do you care about me? How could you love someone like me?
As I ask myself those questions, the parable of the shepherd and the lost sheep comes to mind. In Luke 15:1–7, the Pharisees and scribes are murmuring how Jesus receives sinners and eats with them. Then sharing about the shepherd who leaves the ninety-nine to go after the one lost sheep. Both are encouraging! Jesus eats with sinners. I am happy about that as I am one of them. He also leaves the ninety-nine for the one who is lost. It gets even better. Once he finds the sheep, he lays it across his shoulders and brings it home, where the friends and neighbors celebrate. They do not condemn, judge, or scold, “You should have stayed with the others.” They just celebrate.
We can see one example of God’s love in Hagar’s story when the Angel of the Lord finds Hagar and he calls her by her name. Out of thankfulness, Hagar calls God El Roi—the God who sees. Note that the angel appeared to Hagar as she sat by a spring of water. God provided her with water in a desert. Just as water is essential to life, I believe Jesus—the Living Water—pours life into our spirits as he speaks worthiness and belonging to us not only through the Bible, but also in the connections and relationships we have with others. Ephesians 2:4–10 ties this all together beautifully. Because of God’s love for us, it is by grace we have been saved, through faith, and not from something we have done on our own. This is a gift he gives to us so that—when we find ourselves alone like Hagar in the desert—we can trust that Jesus will find us, bring us back home, and strengthen us to do the good work he has planned for us to do before the foundation of the world. This can begin now in small ways in our relationships within our church and in our community.
In Genesis 16:
- God continued to show up for Hagar. How is God showing up for you right now?
- How is God using you to show up for others?
- Can you see the wonder and glory of God during the loneliness, fear, abandonment, disappointment you may be experiencing?
- Do you notice people that society may disregard as unworthy or unlovable? In what ways can you show them the worthiness and love that Jesus has shown you?
- Listen to Remember by Lauren Daigle as a time of prayer and worship.
We’d love to hear from you. Please share with us below your thoughts and insight. We would love to see Take it Further be a place where as a community we dialog, and together we all take the conversation further.
*Note: If you wish, you can look up this and other Bible passages online at youversion.com
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