Hagar is my unlikely daily-life heroine. Why? Because she encounters God in the midst of a terrible day. Probably the worst day of her life.
A little background: God promises Abram an heir; but as years tick by, no heir appears. Abram's wife Sarai takes matters into her own hands by offering her maidservant Hagar to him. She conceives, only to find Sarai horribly jealous. The Scripture says, "So Sarai treated her harshly, and she fled from her presence" (Genesis 16:6).
Hagar embodies her name, which means flight. She flees.
In the wilderness, hopeless, Hagar, encounters the angel of the Lord. He encourages her, gives her direction. At the end of her conversation, she gives God a name—El Roi, the God Who Sees. Hagar is the only person in Scripture to name God.
It's this characteristic of God—His all-seeing ways—that we who work and play and parent must understand and believe.
- When we struggle to maintain a healthy work schedule despite numerous pressures, God sees.
- When we attempt to potty-train our three-year-old for the umpteenth time, having given up on M & Ms, begging, and tears, God sees.
- When we feel like Hagar, tempted to flee our circumstances, God sees.
- When we do the right thing, though everyone else rails against us, God sees.
- When our spouse injures us, yet we love and forgive, God sees.
There is no place God can't see. There is no situation He cannot discern. He sees it all. Scripture attests to this beautifully:
- He sees every workplace, every family. "For He looks to the ends of the earth and sees everything under the heavens" (Job 28:24).
- He sees everyone's actions—even those who wrong us. "For His eyes are upon the ways of a man, and He sees all his steps" (Job 34:21).
- He sees every person's heart and even understands why we live the way we do. "The Lord looks from heaven; he sees all the sons of men; from His dwelling place He look out on all the inhabitants of the earth, He who fashions the hearts of them all, He who understands all their works" (Psalm 33: 13-15).
- He sees what we've hidden and is especially fond of rewarding what we've done for Him secretly. "Your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you" (Matthew 6:4).
- He searches for us, giving us strength when we surrender every aspect of our lives to Him (family, job, friendships, recreation). "For the eyes of the Lord move to and fro throughout the earth that He may strongly support those whose heart is completely His" (2 Chronicles 16:9).
Hagar may be an unlikely heroine—having fled difficult circumstances instead of facing them—but therein lies the serendipitous beauty of God. God sees our own frailty. He meets us as we flee. God gives us hope, encouragement, and his presence so we can meet the challenges and privileges of the workaday world.
Find out more about Mary DeMuth at www.marydemuth.com.