I back away from the edge of a bad situation. I escape into a personal desert of my own. The burning sand crinkles in between my toes. The beams from an angry sun twist into optical illusions which make it easier to forget.
I am a woman stained by divorce. For the past several years, it seemed safer to isolate myself in my own personal desert than to step forward and say, “This is where I come from; this is my journey; this is how God saves.”
Any Christian woman who has dealt with an affair, abortion, abuse, or divorce knows that escaping into the desert is a much better alternative than sitting exposed in the sultriness of scandal.
Have you ever run from the heat of scandal and just wanted to evaporate?
Sometimes we find ourselves in places we never thought we’d be.
We’re hurt in ways we never thought possible.
We find ourselves out of options.
So we run.
I’ve read the story of Abram, Sarai, and Hagar many times. However, I’ve never unearthed the treasure found in Hagar’s plight before. Hagar proves to be no stranger to scandal or the desert.
She is a servant girl who is forced to mother Abram’s child. She is disrespected, mistreated, and misunderstood in a male driven world. She probably carries a double dose of resentment, hostility, anger, and bitterness deep within her heart. Genesis 16:6 (NLT).
Scandal wraps its unforgiving arms around Hagar and squeezes. It pushes her into a wilderness of loneliness.
God interrupts her desert bound journey and provides fresh perspective, new possibility and a promising future. He reveals His will, provides instruction, and requests her obedience (Genesis 16:7-8).
God informs Hagar of her future, (Genesis 16:9-12). Hagar replies, “You are the God who sees me,” (Genesis 16:13).
God embraces Hagar in the midst of her desert. He sees her when she feels invisible. He notices her struggles when she thinks no one cares. He gives her a purpose beyond herself.
God provides the faith fuel Hagar needs to walk back into Abram’s tent and pick up where she left off.
Like Hagar, when we find ourselves in the desert, God sees our pain, hears our cry, and draws us to Himself like never before.
The Bible says to remember the desert times. Don’t get discouraged while you’re there because it won’t last forever. The important thing isn’t how you got to the desert but what you do while you’re in the desert.
If today finds you with sandy speckles in between your toes and a desert on the horizon, remember God is with you. He’s holding you, carrying you, guiding you, loving you, seeing you, and hearing you.