Longing for the Divine

Hagar’s Discovery about God

Hagar was an Egyptian slave girl, an unlikely candidate to discover something wonderful about God. Sometimes, other people’s bad choices affect the course of one’s life. In Hagar’s story, Abraham and Sarah were the guilty ones, but poor Hagar suffered from their failures. Hagar’s suffering arose primarily from Abraham’s failure to trust in God’s promise.

Faced with daunting circumstances, a barren Sarah aimed to resolve her situation by having her Egyptian maid serve as a surrogate. The arrangement, however, caused friction, stripping Hagar of her dignity. It got so bad that Hagar ran away. A victim of mistreatment, Hagar was pregnant and vulnerable in the arid desert of a distant country.

Hagar thought that she had been abandoned by everyone but discovered that God had not deserted her. Recognizing the injustice, God promised to do something great for Hagar in the midst of her pain. She too would be blessed, many descendants would come from her. God witnessed her despair, and Hagar responded by giving God a beautiful name: “Then she called the name of the Lord who spoke to her, You-Are-the-God-Who-Sees; for she said, ‘Have I also here seen Him who sees me?’” (Genesis 16:13, NKJV).

Knowing that a caring God was watching over her, Hagar learned that life was bearable. Have we discovered this about God? When trouble and distress take over our lives and we feel scorned, do we discover—as Hagar did—that God sees us? 

God is not afraid to step into our problems and failures. As we go through hard times or face challenges, we can know that God sees and cares. We don’t have to fix every situation as if it’s our job to fix the world. God wants us to find the solution in Him. When trouble arises, we often run away because we assume that God is uninterested, disappointed or even angry with us, so we end up blocking our eyes from seeing Him. 

However, God wants us to recognize that He sees, that His peace and joy can alleviate the shadows of pain and distress. We are sought after and kept by the most powerful Lover in the universe. When amid troubles like Hagar, we should focus on the God who sees—who never misses a shed tear or overlooks a broken heart. Even when I don’t understand what is happening, I can place my confidence and trust in the God who sees me!

Craig Ashton Jr. 

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