Hagar in My Heart

Since I didn’t really know how the two were different I couldn’t decide which I was feeling more like – a gypsy or a nomad – so I decided to look up the two words so I could make an informed decision.

A gypsy is a member of a tribe of people found throughout the world who has no permanent home and has a wandering lifestyle.

A nomad is a member of a group of people who have no fixed home and move according to the seasons from place to place in search of food, water, and grazing land.

Well that settles it.  I am not a gypsy because I am not a member of a tribe.  I may be able to skate by on the nomad title but only if I count E.v.e. and I as a “group” and my current residence as “grazing land”.  Sigh, I am officially a nomad, aimlessly wandering through the wilderness in search of food, water and shelter.

Lately I have spent some time thinking about another nomad named Hagar and what her life must have been like.  She and I have a very similar story and I keep finding little bits of her tucked away in my heart and I am not sure I like it.  

The Bible tells part of her story like this: 

Abraham exiles Hagar.

Hagar and Ishmael (E.v.e. and I) being sent out to wander in the wilderness

“So Abraham got up early the next morning, prepared food and a container of water, and strapped them on Hagar’s shoulders. Then he sent her away with their son, and she wandered aimlessly in the wilderness of Beersheba. When the water was gone, she put the boy in the shade of a bush.  Then she went and sat down by herself about a hundred yards away. ‘I don’t want to watch the boy die,’ she said, as she burst into tears.”

I can’t imagine leaving my child under a bush and walking away so I wouldn’t have to listen to her die.  The pain and the anger she must have felt.  The hopelessness. She didn’t choose this life.  She didn’t plan on being thrown out into the desert to fend for herself and her young son.  The hatred she must have felt.  Being a slave, she had only done what was asked of her and now that Abraham had a new son with his wife she was no longer wanted or needed. 

I have never had to deal with the anguish of knowing my child was about to die from thirst or starvation but I can relate to her in some of the other areas of her life.  I know what it is like to have the father of my child not love me and send me away for another woman he apparently did love.  I know how it feels to have another child prefered over my own despite the fact they share the same father.  And I know what it feels like to wander aimlessly in the wilderness not knowing where to go or where provision will come from next. 

Some days, like today I guess, I feel like my water skin is almost out.  I feel like if God doesn’t come through really soon I might get an even more personal understanding of how Hagar must have felt that day. 

Despite the similarities between Hagars and my own story there are some very important differences though that I need to remind myself of.   For example, I know that I am no longer a slave.  I know that I am the Daughter of a King.  And I knew when I was first sent out into the wilderness that is currently my life that the King had a plan and a purpose for my and my daughter’s life, even if my ex husband did not. 

Some days it is very hard to remember these simple truths but I have to hold tight to them because they are what gives me hope that my story isn’t the same has Hagars.  My story doesn’t have to contain as much pain.  I don’t have to let myself become bitter.  I don’t have to allow hate to well up inside me.  I don’t have to feel hopeless and full of despair because I can see a truth that Hagar could not.  I can’t let myself forget that truth or I will be no better off than Hagar and my E.v.e. will be no better off than Ishmael. 

When Hagar was sent away she didn’t know that the Lord had just had a conversation with Abraham where He told him, “Do not be upset over the boy and your servant(Hagar). Do whatever Sarah tells you, for Isaac is the son through whom your descendants will be counted.  But I will also make a nation of the descendants of Hagar’s son because he is your son, too.” – italics and bold added by me.

Abraham sent her way trusting the Lord to keep His word but she thought she was sent into the desert with no hope, no promise and no assurance of any kind.  She and her child was rejected and in her mind sent away to die a painful death in the desert.  Sometimes I catch myself feeling like Hagar rather than remembering that I was sent out into the desert full of hope, believing in a great promise and with all assurance that my Lord would provide a way for my little family. 

I know that my ex didn’t have a talk with God before sending me and my tiny baby off into the great unknown to fend for ourselves but I also know that God knew ahead of time the trials I would be facing.  He, as my Daddy, knew what I could handle and how he could use my current circumstances to mold me into the woman He needs me to be and the ways that He would provide for us.  I know that God has a great plan for my daughter and I and that we are, every day, moving one step closer to that promised land. 

I have to learn to keep my heart in check and not allow the bitterness of Hagar to steal away my hope and assurance of a promise made by my King.  Hagar did eventually learn of the Lords provision for her and her son and they went on to prosper and create a whole race of people still around today.  However, her bitterness stayed with them and to this day the two families stemming from the same father still hate each other.  That is not the path I choose.  That is not the story I want to live. 

I choose peace.  I choose hope.   I chose to belive that I am not rejected.  I am not unloved.  I am not second-rate.  I am not a slave. I do not have to fend for myself.  I choose to continue to trust in the Lord that all of this wandering, all this aimless, dreadful wandering, is for a purpose and is for my and my daughters betterment and that one day it will come to an end and I will finally see my promises fulfilled. 


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