Thursday, December 23, 2004

One night, around the time that Ms. Boo was 2, I awoke to the sound of her fearful cries. I rushed to her room and quickly realized that she was having a bad dream. Though she was still asleep, she kept calling out for me, "Mommy! Mommy!"

It was the first time Boo had done this, so I stopped to think about how I should approach her. I didn’t know what to say, but I kept thinking "whatever you do, don't startle her." I wanted her to hear my voice and know, immediately, that her mom was there to comfort her. While I was still thinking of what to say, I found that I had already spoken. Something came out of me as if by second nature. One simple word… her name.

Not long after that, Helen and I were discussing the account of Hagar’s “bad dream” in Genesis 16. The passage doesn't give a lot of details, so we were trying to imagine how Hagar must have felt. "Used" came to mind. She had provided the son Abram needed, but would she be provided for as Abram's wife? Surely, she felt rejected. Her mistress, Sarai, who was also Abram's wife, had developed the plan for Hagar to bear Abram's son. But Sarai grew resentful once Hagar became pregnant. In her resentment, Sarai mistreated Hagar, and Hagar fled.

So, Hagar found herself pregnant and alone in the desert, with no one to care for her. Had it been me, I would have been thinking, “Why is this happening? Where will I go? How will I care for my baby?” Had it been me, I would have been sobbing.

And then the angel of the Lord shows up. But had it not been for my experience that night with Boo, I never would have seen the rest of the passage in this light:

The passage says that the Lord heard of Hagar’s misery. He heard her cries! It says that the angel of the Lord “found Hagar.” He came to her! And do you know what the first thing out of his mouth was?… “Hagar…”

I can almost hear His gentle tone.

Oh, the kindness of God. He hears us when we cry out. He comes to us. And then, He gently calls our name, so we will know that our Father is there to comfort us.

Hagar left that scene having experienced God. "I have now seen the One who sees me," she said. It is the first time in scripture that God is referred to as El Roi, the God Who Sees. This same God sent Hagar back to Sarai. And Hagar went. I have often wondered why. But I have a guess: She was confident that the kindness of the God who saw her would sustain her as she lived through her bad dream.

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Blogger Luisa Perkins said...

Oooh, that was specially lovely.

Wed Mar 07, 06:00:00 PM  

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