Dear Modern Mama,
God sees and hears you in your parenting struggles. That assurance comes from this Bible mama, but I write to you from my painful experiences of abuse, betrayal, and single-parenting.
I worked as a servant girl for Abram and Sarai long before God changed their names. An old couple without children, they treated the members of their household work force as family. I loved working for them—until they abused me. I couldn’t believe that boss-lady Sarai sent me in to be raped by her husband. After all my loyalty and hard work, they betrayed and abused me. When they found out I was pregnant, Sarai blamed everything on her husband, but she was the one who started this mess!
Sarai treated me so cruelly that I ran away into the desert, where the angel of the Lord found me by a spring. When He spoke to me by name and mentioned my mistress Sarai, I admitted that I ran away from her. The angel of the Lord then told me to go back and submit to her. He prophesied that my future generations would be too many to count.
Then He told me that I would have a son and should name him Ishmael. After reassuring me that the Lord had heard of my misery, He added some scary details. My son would be a wild man, living in hostility against everyone and everyone would be against him. Those words described how I felt: hostile and that everyone had turned against me.
No human being would know all of that and speak personally to my concerns. In response, I blurted out my thoughts. “You are the God who sees me!” “I have now seen the One who sees me” (Genesis 16:13). So I named that well Beer Lahai Roi, which means well of the living One that sees me in Hebrew (Genesis 16:14).
Although I returned hopeful, jealousy filled the household fourteen years later when Abraham and Sarah had their son Isaac. When they banished Ishmael and me, we wandered into the desert together. Hungry, exhausted, and sure that we were going to die in that barren wasteland, we sat in separate places to cry.
Would you believe that God heard Ishmael crying?! This time, the voice came from heaven and instructed me to lift Ishmael off the ground and hold him by the hand. Then God promised to make Ishmael into a great nation. I did what God asked, and suddenly I saw a well. That proved to me that God not only saw us, but He heard us.
Do you know that mine is the first account of the angel of the Lord in the Bible?! A destitute rape victim banished to raise a wild child in the desert—but God never abandoned me. Instead, He blessed me with His appearance, prophecies, and provision. (Check out my story for yourself in chapters 16 and 21 of Genesis.)
From my personal experience with God, I learned this truth that I share with you: God sees you, hears you, and knows your situation. Although I struggled to raise Ishmael, I always knew that God saw, heard, and understood me. I knew that I could trust God no matter what happened. Please recognize that you, too, are seen, heard, and known by God. He might not appear to you in-person, but you have the truth of Jesus Christ in His Word. Trust Him even in the toughest parenting situations.
Love to you from Hagar
P.S. Did I tell you about my twelve grandsons?! (Genesis 25:12-18)
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