The Bible is filled with stories. There are the great stories of men stepping out in faith and seas parting and walls falling. And…there are stories of things like cowardice, bigamy, and murder right along with all those glorious ones.
One of the great stories in the Bible had a pretty sordid beginning. God had promised a son to a man named Abram. He and his wife had never been able to conceive a child, and to top it off, God’s promise to give them a son came after the normal years of childbearing.
Years passed and there was still no son, so, Abram’s wife Sarai came up with a plan. She had a servant girl named Hagar and she suggested to Abram that he sleep with her servant and have this child through her. Abram agreed, and Hagar became pregnant according to plan. What happened next was NOT according to plan.
When Haggar realized she was pregnant, she despised her mistress. Now Sarai regretted that she had ever come up with the idea and told Abram it was all his fault. He told Sarai to deal with Hagar however she saw fit, and the Bible says that she treated Hagar so harshly, that she ran away.
Hagar fled into the wilderness and made her way to a spring of water. The Angel of the Lord found her there, and this was part of their exchange:
…He said, “Hagar, Sarai’s maid, where have you come from, and where are you going?”
She said, “I am fleeing from the presence of my mistress Sarai.”
The Angel of the Lord said to her, “Return to your mistress, and submit yourself under her hand.” Then the Angel of the Lord said to her, “I will multiply your descendants exceedingly, so that they shall not be counted for multitude…
Genesis 16:8-10 (NKJV)
Hagar gave God a name that day. She called Him – “the God Who Sees.” (Gen. 16:13) She had a moment of wondrous realization, in the middle of all that mess, that God saw her. He had singled her out to talk to her in her loneliness, to encourage her in her despair, to give her a word of wisdom of what to do, and a word of hope for her future.
In a perfect story she would go back and serve with a perfect servant’s heart, Sarai would lovingly embrace her and treat her kindly, and Abram would set them both down and take ownership for the situation he had created. But the Bible doesn’t just have stories about perfect people who did perfect things. There continued to be challenges in those relationships throughout their lives, but the lesson to be embraced here is this; God will minister to your mess.
He doesn’t wait until you get your attitude straight. He won’t wait until you’ve done everything correctly. He’ll seek you out when you’re lonely and discouraged and have no one to blame but yourself, and in that place, He’ll encourage you. He’ll show you what to do, and bring you hope. He is still the God who sees – He sees you right where you are – and He loves you right where you are.