Where Have You Come From? Where are You Going?

Genesis 16:8

Several years ago, I made a New Year’s resolution to not make any more New Year’s resolutions. Losing weight, exercising more, eating less junk food, watching less television, and giving up web surfing are all great ideas in theory, but it’s a road leading to disappointment. Make the resolution, break the resolution, feel the shame of realizing I have failed again.

In place of resolutions, I started evaluation. In the past year, what worthwhile things have I accomplished, and what do I hope to accomplish in the coming year? Where have I come from, and where am I going?

When Sarai was looking at her own life, she saw only one thing; she had no children. Abram said God had promised him a son, but she was barren. In that culture, a woman’s duty was to provide children, specifically sons, to carry on the husband’s lineage. Sarai had failed. Her response was to insist Abram take her servant, Hagar, as his wife to have children for him, to be her surrogate. Abram responded as any husband would, “Yes, dear.”

The outcome was predictable. Hagar soon had a son, and Sarai despised her for it. Again, she complained to Abram, and he replied, “Do whatever you want, dear.” Hagar’s reward for being an obedient servant was to be treated harshly. That possibly and probably meant emotional, verbal, and physical abuse at the hands of Sarai. Understandably, Hagar ran away.

That’s when the Angel of the Lord found her and asked her the question. “Hagar, Sarai’s maid, where have you come from, and where are you going?” He already knew the answer because he called her by name, “Hagar, Sarai’s maid…” She could only answer one of the questions; “I am fleeing from the presence of my mistress, Sarai.” She had no answer for the second question; “Where are you going?” She wasn’t going anywhere. She had no destination. She wasn’t running to anything, only away from Sarai.

The angel answered the question for her. Your destiny is to be the mother of Ishmael. The rest of the prophecy about her son may sound bizarre to the Western mindset.

He shall be a wild man;
His hand shall be against every man,
And every man’s hand against him.
And he shall dwell in the presence of all his brethren.

To Hagar, it was a promise. God heard her affliction. God saw her condition. God knew her and gave her a future.

“Return to your mistress, and submit yourself under her hand…I will multiply your descendants exceedingly, so that they shall not be counted for multitude.”

This new year, are you running away from something undesirable, but not to any goal in particular? Are you like Sarai, seeing only her failure and an unfulfilled duty? Are you like Hagar, running from bad circumstances and thinking no one knows your predicament?

Strangely enough, sometimes the pain we are running away from is the very path to the plan God has for us. The most comforting thing may be a realization that God hears you, God sees you, God knows you, and God speaks to you. He didn’t leave Sarai childless, and he didn’t leave Hagar to die in the desert.

At this writing, my wife is slowly regaining her strength after a four-year battle with breast cancer. Surgeries and chemotherapy have left her body ravaged and her soul tired, but her spirit is undaunted. She is not yet cancer-free, but the cancer has not grown in the past year, and she is free of the constant pain that once wracked her days and nights. One particular song that has given her strength through this journey is “He Knows My Name.”

He knows my name
He knows my every thought
He sees each tear that falls
And hears me when I call.

This past year, we suffered great physical and emotional pain, not to mention tremendous financial strain. This coming year, we are planning for her retirement after more than 20 years of teaching elementary school. We have a future, and we’re looking forward to it.

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Published in: on January 15, 2016 at 11:46 am  Comments (1)  

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One CommentLeave a comment

  1. God bless you all. A great testimony of trusting…overcomers by the word of your testimonies..


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