This week we have taken a close look at the life of Hagar. If you didn't read the previous 2 posts, I would suggest you read this and this first, or grab your Bible and read her story in Genesis 16 and 21. Hagar was a wallflower, turned runaway, turned reject. Due to tough circumstances, (as well as some bad decisions) Hagar finds herself in the desert twice, needing to be saved. Both times she is found by God, and given hope, life, and purpose.
From the past two studies, have you related with any specific element of Hagar's story?
So, now, you know her story. But there's a couple more powerful lessons that God has tucked within her pages of Genesis:
When Hagar ran away, and God found her, was she out in the desert looking for God?
No, I don't think so. Girls, God initiates with us. He searches for us, no matter how far we have run away. He doesn’t wait for us to become religious, or overcome our bad habits. (Nail biting, anyone?!) And once we have come to know Him in a personal way, the pursuit doesn’t stop. He keeps chasing after us, through all of life’s ups and downs.
What does that make you feel towards God?
Hopefully you feel loved! And comforted!
But, I'm going to go out on a limb here and assume that some of you reading this are out in an emotional and spiritual desert right now, and you would like to be left alone in that desert. You don't really want God coming after you--perhaps you are mad at him, or you are just done with him and church, or perhaps you don't even realize that you are in the desert. There is so much I could say to you, but for now, I want to remind you that he chases after us with love. Psalm 103:8 says,
"The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love."
I love how The Message translation describes this verse:
"God is sheer mercy and grace;
not easily angered, he’s rich in love.
He doesn’t endlessly nag and scold,
nor hold grudges forever.
He doesn’t treat us as our sins deserve,"
Girls, God will never force you to return to him, or return to doing life the way he desires, but he will never stop chasing you. He is faithful, and loving, and desires that you see him, and receive his love.
What did the angel ask Hagar when he first met her? (Genesis 16:7)
Now, rewrite it as if God is asking you the same question:
Where have you come from? Where have you been? HE knows, The Lord sees you. He knows what this past year has looked like. He knows how deep your pain is. He knows the depth of your loneliness. He knows your guilt.
Where are you going? What's your plan? Don’t head for Egypt, like Hagar. Egypt symbolized the world's solutions--success, a boyfriend, a diet. The world’s solutions won’t fix your pain.
Also, God doesn’t want you to sit in bitterness, anger, or hurt. He says “Get up! I see you! I will help you.” And he JUMPS into your pain! He wants to intersect you on your runaway path, because he is a relational God that adores you.
Alright, one more gem from this story that I just LOVE. Both times that God met her in the desert, where was she? What was she close to?
Water, right? Is there anything more needed when you are lost in the desert?! You can be sure Hagar was physically parched in each of her journeys. But it didn’t compare to the thirst of her soul. This was a subtle promise from God. In one interaction the God of promises ends her heart's drought! God became Hagar’s refreshment! He was promising her comfort, rest, relief, and restoration.
Ladies, do you know what a dry soul feels like? Do you have a parched heart? Sisters, nothing will quench that thirst except Jesus. There is definitely that temptation to sip from the water fountain of the world! Boys, popularity, our figure, sports, grades….we sip from these 'fountains' hoping that they will satisfy our thirst. (What is your go-to fountain?) But they will only leave you with more of a longing. Ever been there?
We can drink from the fountain of Jesus, gulp down his love and satisfaction, and be changed. Jesus promises us satisfaction. Just like he did with Hagar. Don't look back at your past--full of failures or pains. Don't look forward, into the world's solutions for life.
Look straight up.
And you, like Hagar, can discover the hope that’s on the other side of being seen by God.
Girls, you are loved.
"I have loved you with an everlasting love, therefore I have continued my faithfulness to you." Jeremiah 31:3