I call with all my heart; answer me, O LORD ,
and I will obey your decrees.
I call out to you; save me
and I will keep your statutes.
I rise before dawn and cry for help;
I have put my hope in your word.
My eyes stay open through the watches of the night,
that I may meditate on your promises.
Hear my voice in accordance with your love;
preserve my life, O LORD , according to your laws.
Those who devise wicked schemes are near,
but they are far from your law.
Yet you are near, O LORD ,
and all your commands are true.
Long ago I learned from your statutes
that you established them to last forever.
~Psalm 119:145-152 NIV
This psalm and brings to mind one of my favorite moments in the history of God’s people recorded in the Old Testament. Her life had not been ideal. She’d dreamed of a home, a family, and a husband. Instead she was a handmaid-turned-surrogate mother-turned-enemy. She had dreams for the child she carried in her womb. He was, after all, to be the firstborn (if only by some odd finagling our Western minds have a hard time understanding) to a man of means–and a man specially chosen for some great purpose by the God of Heaven. But lately, it had all been nothing but heartache, trouble, hassle and bitter words. Sarai was no longer a kind woman to her, and Abram seemed weak and unwilling to press the issue of how she’d been treated by Sarai. So Hagar ran.
Later, an angel from God found her distraught by a spring in the desert. When asked where she was going she simply replied, “I am running away from my mistress.” What choice did she have? Abram had given his wife Sarai carte blanche to threat Hagar as she wished. And she did–with a full dose of jealousy, spite, and bitterness. Getting away seemed the only option and she’d run till her legs were weak and her thirst overwhelming. As she takes a moment to catch her breath and get a drink of water an angel speaks to her.
The angel’s next words may not have been much comfort: “Return to your mistress and submit to her authority.” But before she could argue, he added, “I will give you more descendants than you can count.” While this may not mean much to you, it meant everything to Hagar. In her time and place, this was a glorious promise. This was a legacy.
Encouraged and strengthened by the message from God the angel had brought, she rose and went home…strength renewed, hope reborn, promise rekindled. Because of this moment, a moment when God had spoken a ray of light to her while she was struggling in the darkness, her view of God was transformed forever. Her worldview changed. Her name for God himself changed. From then on, she referred to God as “The One Who Sees Me.” What a a glorious name! She’d been invisible, but God saw her. She’d been lost, but God found her. She’d been running, but God met her on the road. God saw, God loved, God spoke, God healed, God strengthened, and God blessed her. He heard her cry and answered…with hope.
How good it is to know that the God of Heaven sees us. How good to know His promises that He will meet us in our moments of running.
Hear my cry, O God;
listen to my prayer.
From the ends of the earth I call to you,
I call as my heart grows faint;
lead me to the rock that is higher than I.
~Psalm 61:1-2 NIV