After Isaac is born, Sarah cannot stand having her slave girl and illegitimate heir, Ishmael, around for a minute longer. Though he is flesh of his flesh, Abraham gives her permission to do "whatever you think is right," so Sarah sends Hagar and Ishmael into the wilderness. After several days and a good number of miles, the provisions Abraham has provided are running out, and Hagar is certain they are both going to die - the boy first, simply due to his youth and relative frailness.
She can't bear to watch, so she tucks the boy into as secure a place as she can to minimize the pain of his impending death, then journeys a little bit further on her own so that she doesn't have to listen to him cry...and doesn't have to hear the gut-wrenching silence when he finally stops.
But God hears the boy crying.
God sees him tucked away in as secure a place as his mother could find, and He sees the boy's mother a stone's throw away - trying to get away from the noise that not only pierces the wilderness, but her own heart, while at the same time, unable to go too far at all because she is, after all, a caring mother.
So He comes to her. God comes to Hagar in the shade of the bushes where she sits, both looking and trying not to look. Hearing, trying not to hear, and yet, straining her ears to make sure the boy is still crying, that he's still alive. And God tells her what He has told - and will tell - so many others throughout His story: do not be afraid.
Don't be afraid, Hagar. I see you.
I see you in this forsaken place, this desert place, this wilderness where no one else could find you even if they were looking (and they aren't). I see you torn between what seem to be the realities of your situation, your desolate circumstances and your mother's heart. I see you loving your child but not knowing what else there is you can do for him. I see you wondering where it all goes from here. I see you just as lost in this wilderness as Sarah was hoping you'd be when she sent you away, and I see you feeling the bitter sting of it all.
God sees you. No matter where you are, no matter how you got there, no matter what you're afraid of, no matter what comes next, no matter how desolate the place seems to be, God sees you there. You don't have to worry about getting lost, about finding your way, about losing it all, or about dying some obscure death - or living some obscure life - in a place where no one else could find you even if they were looking (they aren't) because God knows right where you are. He sees you there.
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