Stories, thoughts and reflections on the Bible from the WSFC Staff.
This year I have one primary goal – to get to know God better – both in active relationship with Him and in increasingly knowing the details of His character.
One of the meanings behind the Greek word “know” is “to recognized Him in a crowd”. Think the book “Where’s Waldo” – but instead of a dark rimmed, striped shirt, nerdy guy in a crowded scene, it’s developing the ability to find the often quiet presence of the Almighty God in the midst of our crowded schedule and soul.
One way that goal has changed me is how I approach the Scriptures. Instead of sitting down with my Bible and asking the Holy Spirit “show me more about me”, I prayer a prayer of “Show me more of who You are.”
Which leads me to this morning’s reading of Genesis 16. Here’s the quick recap of the chapter:
Hagar, Abram and Sarai’s surrogate, found herself stranded, alone and on the run. Sarai and Hagar’s relationship became dysfunctional and Sarai had drove her away. Now Hagar was not completely innocent in the situation, but that isn’t the point.
In her isolated state, God met her. He didn’t “find” her, because He never lost track of her. He let her know she was not alone. Then He gave her His perspective of her situation, what she should do, and what He sees for her future. At face value, that is an encounter any of us would ask for.
But here is the catch…
God’s instructions to her were not ideal – “Go and submit to the authority of the one who mistreated you.” (16:9)
And His prophetic insight into the son she was carrying wasn’t exactly something you’d want to post about (16:12) – he will be rebellious to everyone and live in open hostility against all his relatives. <cue soft piano in the background to soften the blow>
But it wasn’t God’s Word to her that caught my attention most. It is her response that intrigued me.
She did not cry out about God triggering her or minimizing her trauma. She didn’t go tell everyone that because of what she had heard from God, she was now going to deconstruct her relationship with Him.
Somehow, in the midst of hearing difficult things from God, she was able to humbly receive them and gain insight into who He is – “the one who sees me”.
“Have I truly seen the One who sees me?” She asked herself. (16:13)
If you are in the middle of encountering difficult correction from God today – messages that require a change of mind and action – pause for a moment and reflect on something. Reflect on the fact that the God of the universe, who’s mouth breathed into existence everything out of nothing, is using the same breath in His lungs to speak to you where you are at, and guide you closer to Himself. He sees you. And that is significant.
Next, remind yourself of the character of the One who is guiding you. The change He’s asking may be hard. The message you may be hearing may hurt. But the One speaking to you is Holy, fully of love and is incapable of sinning against you. He is worthy of your trust and you can find safety in Him through your submission.
Hagar did not experience a life as smooth sailing because of her obedience. That is not why we obey. Her obedience simply reflected her faith in God’s character – she was willing to do the difficult tasks because she trusted the One who asked her to do them.
That is my prayer for me and you today. That we would find rest in the arms of the One who is undeniably trustworthy – no matter what is asked of us in this season. And that we would find hope today in the fact that He sees us, right where we are at, no matter where that is.
He loves you. He is for you. And He can be trusted.
Pastor Cris Buck