Breathe in, Breathe up

I’ve been tired lately. Spiritually tired, emotionally tired, and physically tired. The kind of tired that seems to sit in my bones and doesn’t go away no matter how much sleep I get.

If I’m being honest though, all of my “tireds” boil down to being spiritually tired. I’ve been hitting snooze instead of getting up for quiet times, choosing Netflix over time alone with God, and skipping out on worship events and church services because I “needed more time sleep.” I’ve been slacking, and it’s made me tired. More importantly though, I’ve been tired and it’s made me blind to the faithfulness of God that I know is all around me.

When I finally got around to reading the story of Hagar for this week’s blog (I’ve been skipping quiet times, remember?) it was like meeting my best friend for the first time. We magically seemed to click right away. The thing is, Hagar was tired too—she gave up on believing for the provision of God, and she literally sat in defeat and waited to die.

Let’s back up a little and look at her circumstances here. You can find the story of Hagar in Genesis, and all we know of her at first is that she is Sarah’s (Abraham’s wife’s) slave. Sarah also decides to abandon her own promise from God and lets Abraham sleep with Hagar to have a son. So there’s Hagar, in a foreign land with a baby she never asked for but desperately loves, and she’s suddenly despised by her mistress. Ever been there? Has a friend told you, “Go ahead and buy the bag, it’s the last one. It’s really more you,” only to covet it and bring up how “nice” she was when it’s convenient?

Now that’s a pretty rough illustration since we’re talking about actual people and a baby here, but you get the point. Hagar went from being the quiet girl on the sidelines, to being in the middle of the action. Fast forward a few years and Sarah has her own baby (like God said she would because God is God and He’s always right) and begins to HATE Hagar and her son, Ishmael. Sarah gets so jealous she asks Abraham to send the woman and her child away.

Hagar and Ishmael are literally kicked out of their house and left to wander in the desert. After a while, the food and water they have brought with them run out, and Hagar accepts the fact that she and her son are going to die. She lays her son down, and goes and sits a little ways down the road. Close enough to be there if he wakes, but far enough away that she doesn’t have to watch him die. That’s where I’ve been this week, friends. I’ve been sitting down in the middle of my own desert, abandoning all hope for some kind of supernatural provision, abandoning all belief in the faithfulness of God, and accepting defeat.

But God. Aren’t those the sweetest words you could ever read? As Hagar sits there, “God heard the lad crying; and the angel of God called to Hagar from heaven and said to her, ‘What is the matter with you, Hagar? Do not fear for God has heard the voice of the lad where he is,” (Gen. 21:17). As Hagar sat in her defeat, God heard her cry—and he hears yours, sweet sister.

As the story comes to a close, Hagar looks up and sees a well of water appear next to her. She looks up and sees the provision of God firsthand in her life. Hagar fills her skins with water again, and is able to provide for her son because she first sees God provide for her. All she had to do—all along—was look up.

The cool thing about the wilderness—all we have to do is look up. Those “dry seasons” we go through—the moments we feel far away from God—all we have to do is look up. Right where you are, whether you’re sitting at your desk, rushing between classes, struggling to get dinner ready on time and make sense of life’s chaos, all you have to do is look up. So let’s all take a deep breath, clear our minds, and look up to see the face of Jesus together.

-Hallie

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