If there was ever a woman who was feeling alone and discarded, it was undoubtedly Hagar, the Egyptian maidservant of Sarai (Gen. 16). Hagar was pregnant and had fled to the wilderness to escape the harshness of her mistress. Earlier, Sarai had given Hagar to her husband so she could bear an heir for the couple. Once Hagar conceived, she began to “despise” the barren Sarai. Under her mistress’ severe retaliation, Hagar ran away only to find herself feeling abandoned and alone in the desert.Hagar desperately needed someone to care whether she and her unborn child lived or died. And beyond her immediate needs, as a woman and a mother, she anxiously required to know that there was a future hope.
We, too, can find ourselves feeling abandoned and alone. Sometimes it’s merely a lousy week of disagreements with a friend or a spouse that brings on loneliness. Other times, long-simmering conflicts develop into a deep chasm of separation. In the COVID-19 pandemic, illness or potential sickness kept many people shut away from vital connections. Additionally, we may choose to withdraw behind invisible walls to avoid being hurt again. Whatever the case, we are wired by our Maker to desire a sense of familial belonging and hope (Ps. 100:3; Prov. 13:12; Rom. 15:13; 1 John 3:1). We need to be known, loved, and cared for. In this vast, bustling world, we must believe that we are not anonymous and alone—that we are SEEN.
Hagar had gone from being a slave to being a wife to being a mother, and back again to being treated as Sarai’s property (Gen. 16:3, 6a). As Hagar fled from her mistress’ anger into the wilderness,she was literally without a roof over her head. Hagar was now deprived of raising her child in a household;her hopes were evaporating into the dry desert air. As she stopped at the well of Shur for a life-giving drink of water, her thirstiness for care was also divinely quenched. The angel of the Lord (God appearing in the form of an angel)“found”Hagar—the Egyptian maidservant—in this remote place (16:7).
When we are alone, abandoned, or alienated, remember that God does not change. He is always the same (Ps. 119:89; Heb. 13:8; Jas. 1:17). There is no partiality with Him (Acts 10:34-35; Rom. 2:11). What He did for Hagar, He will do for you and me. No matter how anonymous, unknown, or unseen you or I might feel at times, HE IS THERE. He never leaves us or forsakes us. There are times when we feel like we cannot find him. When life seems like all wilderness and no water, which brings on a sense of isolation, it may look as though we cannot find Him;but He can find us! So, in moments of loneliness, cry out to the Lord.Jesus will find you in your desert place. Stop and drink deeply of His life-giving water at the well of His presence.
After inquiring about Hagar’s plans, the angel of the Lord told her to return to her mistress and to submit herself to Sarai’s authority (16:8-9). As Hagar trusted and obeyed, the angel gave her hope to hang on to. He instructed Hagar to name her son Ishmael, meaning God hears because the Lord had“given heed” to her affliction (16:11b). The angel of the Lord also spoke a blessing over Hagar and the child in her womb. In response, she called out to the Lord, essentially naming Him El-roi, meaning You are a God who sees, or literally—You, God, see. She gave this name to the LORD who spoke to her: ‘You are the God who sees me,’ for she said, ‘I have now seen the One who sees me.’” (16:13-NIV). The well where the encounter took place became a memorial known as “Beer-lahai-roi,” meaning the well of the living One who sees me (16:14). Hagar’s words had been heeded by God. She saw the living Lord and was SEEN by Him.
God is our Maker, and He knows our need for belonging and a future hope. He saw Hagar in her pitiful situation, and He was present with her to meet her needs. It’s the same for you and me. Christ tends to our afflictions. We may feel alone, but He is with us. We may think that no one knows our struggle, but truly He SEES us. Personally, it means so much to me to know that God sees me. It reminds me that He knows me inside and out. Christ is familiar with any insecurities and anxieties that I might be experiencing. He feels it. He gets it. He’s in the struggle with me. Be encouraged, we are SEEN by our Maker.
Lastly, in times of struggle, we may wonder if there’s a future hope for us, and the answer is “Yes.” Just as the Lord gave a future promise to Hagar, the slave,He provides a future hope to us regardless of our current circumstances. Not only does He provide hope for our lives here and now, but Jesus Christ has also given us the promise of an eternal future with Him —free of sin, sickness, and death. This forever reality is filled with worship and wonder (Rev. 4). Next time you find yourself in the desert place, remember that the Lord will find you, see you, and give you a future hope.
Nancy is a guest blogger with a desire to help equip and inspire women in their walk with the Lord. Check out her bio for more about Nancy and her books. Listen to our many Bible studies here. Tune in to your favorite radio station, listen to our podcast on iTunes, or listen through TuneIn, Stitcher, Spotify online radio.