The story of Hagar in Genesis 16 isn't what I'd call a "feel good story." It's a story of disobedience and selfishness. But it's also a story of hope.
Abram (later known as Abraham) was married to Sarai (later known as Sarah), but they had no children. They were getting pretty old and it worried them that they didn't have an heir. God, being the loving Father that He is, assured Abram he would indeed have a child and his offspring would be greatly blessed.
Well, it seems that a promise from God wasn't good enough for old Abram and Sarai. They took matters into their own hands. Sarai had a maid servant named Hagar who was from Egypt. She gave Hagar to Abram as his wife so Hagar could bear a child for Sarai. Seemed like a good enough plan--kind of a "surrogate mother" type arrangement--except that isn't what God said to do! As soon as Hagar found out she was pregnant, she "began to despise her mistress." (16:4) Oh, the fighting that took place between Sarai and Hagar! We're talking serious cat fights. Abram and Sarai had heated words, too.
And why did all this happen?
Because Abram ignored the Lord's promise. Because Sarai didn't believe the Lord in the first place. And even Hagar made things worse by getting all high and mighty. Had they all waited on the Lord, everything would have worked out exactly as planned. But they didn't.
Yet that's not the end of the story. Hagar couldn't take anymore of Sarai's mistreatment and she ran away. That's when things turn around.
"An angel of the Lord" finds Hagar in the desert. He asks her where she's going and Hagar tells him she's running away. But God doesn't want us to run away from our problems. He wants us to face them head-on...with Him! He tells Hagar to return home and submit to Sarai. He also tells her she will give birth to a son whom she is to name Ishmael, who will become a great nation himself.
Hagar responds with the most beautiful words a person can utter in the midst of a trial:
"You are the God who sees me." (Gen. 16:13)
God saw Hagar. He knew everything about her and what had happened. And He basically told her, "It's gonna be okay."
I can truly relate to Hagar and what she felt at that moment. Four years ago I was in the deepest, darkest place I'd ever been in. My world was totally knocked out from under me and I was in despair. I remember very clearly the night I cried out to God. It was a Friday. It was near midnight. I was in my living room, sobbing. I fell to my knees and cried out to God, "Help me, Lord! I can't do this on my own."
And that, my friends, is the moment I knew that God is the God who sees me.
He sees you, too. There is nothing too impossible for God to heal. There is nothing too impossible for God to restore. There is no sin too great for God to forgive.
Nothing is impossible for the God who sees us!
Four years ago I had my "Hagar" moment. What about you?