Saturday, July 9, 2016

Bystander's Promise

Each day I try to hand-write a scripture of promise and hope for my life. I find the fluid cursive is soothing, and the precision of copy helps me internalize the verse better. It's a practice I've come to love. I choose the verses through prayer and current situation. Typically I'll have a single word that rolls over and over in my mind after prayer. I'll use a concordance to look up verses with that word. I'll read the various verses, and when I hit "it," I just know it. It's like a gear that clicks into place. 

Yesterday's word was, "confirm."
This was the Word of hope and promise:
Psalm 68:9 (KJV)
Thou, O God, didst send a plentiful rain, whereby thou didst confirm thine inheritance, when it was weary.

Today's word was a phrase, "see me." As KJV would have it, "seest me."
Genesis 16:13 (KJV)
And she called the name of the LORD that spake unto her, Thou God seest me: for she said, Have I also here looked after him that seeth me?

It fit my situation perfectly. And I'm sure many others. 

Hagar was a slave. And while she may have had life better than most slaves, being in such a wealthy household, she was nevertheless still merely a slave. She had no rights, no options, no hope of marriage, at least not without her master arranging a marriage. And such a marriage would more firmly ensconce her into her life as a bond woman. She worked hard. She was respected for her work insomuch that she wasn't relegated to behind the scenes hard labor, but she was the mistress's servant. She had to smell good, look good, present herself well. All while carrying out a wide range of duties. As private servant to her mistress, she was likely a manger among the other slaves, in top rank to better serve Sarah. 

Hagar was just a bystander to Abram's and Sarai's turmoil. They desperately wanted a son, and outside of possibly overhearing their conversations while she cleared their table, or handing her mistress a tissue as she sorrowed over her childless plight, Hagar had nothing to do with this matter. She may have felt compassion. She may have leant an ear. But even if she could do something about it, it wasn't her place to be involved in the situation. 

But then... She was! 

It wasn't her fault that Sarai lost hope. It wasn't of her decision that Abram allowed his wife to concoct an unholy plan. While the decision wasn't hers due to her slave status, it did typically work out to bring improvement to the surrogate-slave's lifestyle. So, perhaps she grasped at the hope for a better future extended to her. 

But then it all went horribly wrong.

People that she'd trusted turned on her. Sarai physically BEAT her! Abram offered no shield. Pregnant Hagar ran away in efforts to try to get away from the nightmare the situation had turned into. 

Why was this happening to her? She was merely an unwilling bystander. She was a slave without ability to own so much as a tent. She had no family. She had no rights. She didn't even have a god. 

And yet, God visited this woman with a promise that He would protect her. He promised her the same promise he'd given Abram, that she'd have MANY children. He gave her hope and a future. The catch was that she needed to go back and wait it all out. 

I have been the surprised recipient of someone's bad mood. I've felt the rejection of someone's need to be alone. I have heard the snickers of callous jokes. And while none of these encounters are as traumatic as Hagar's forced pregnancy, they have left me feeling alone and hopeless. 

But, just as with Hagar, though I was merely a bystander who felt someone else's backlash, and though I had no rights or ability to help myself, God met me there. God promised me, "I see your pain. I happen to be a man of sorrow, acquainted with grief." And the God of glory ministered to me. My God promises me that the current pain is not the end of the road. He assures me that despite the present confusion there is a bright future ahead. But I have to chill out and wait it out. 

And this goes for you to. You may be a bystander who gets the bad end of their bad day. And it can leave you feeling utterly alone. But you're not alone. God is just a prayer away. He will minister to you, rejuvenate you, and put you back on your path to purpose. 

He is a God that sees you. Just don't do anything rash. Wait it out and watch God bless you in the end. 


  1. I needed that right now. Thank you.

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