Rise Up Like Hagar

Sarai and Abram were desperate for a child in their old age. Though Abram received a promise from the Lord that they would have descendants as numerous as the stars (Genesis 15:5-6), he did not tell Sarai, so in her impatience and doubt, she took matters into her own hands.

Hagar was an Egyptian maidservant to Sarai and Abram. Sarai planned for Abram to take Hagar as his second wife, a common practice in their culture, hoping to fulfill her longing for a family through her maid. Hagar soon found herself pregnant with Abram’s child. At first, this might have brought her the sense of fulfillment and worth that she had longed for—however, as her pregnancy progressed, tensions grew. She began to despise Sarai, maybe feeling a glimpse of newfound power and importance that clashed with her previous identity as a servant.

Sarai, in turn, reacted with jealousy and mistreatment towards Hagar, blaming her for the situation she herself had created. Even Abram, the head of the household, failed to intervene, leaving Hagar to Sarai’s cruelty (Genesis 16:6). Faced with oppression and distress, Hagar fled into the wilderness.

Near a spring in the desert, the Angel of the Lord appeared to Hagar in her despair, urging her to return and submit to Sarai. “The Angel of the Lord told her, ‘Go back to your mistress and submit to her’” (Genesis 16:9). Despite the mistreatment she endured, we see Hagar rise up in grace, humility, and obedience. She chooses to trust in God’s plan, even when it seems impossible.

Despite being caught in the crossfire of human failures, she rose above her circumstances, finding strength in submission and trusting God. Her journey reminds us that even in our darkest moments, God sees us, knows us, and calls us to trust in His goodness. It’s easy to flee from a devastating diagnosis, family problems, depression, anxieties, grief, or barrenness, but God knows exactly what you are going through.

Hagar’s experience serves as a reminder of God’s compassion and sovereignty. Just as He saw Hagar in her distress, He sees each of us in our moments of suffering and uncertainty. He knows how you are feeling. He sees you and me. Nothing is hidden from Him. He pursues us. He wants to help us live out the plan He has for us.  In fact, he knows exactly where we are, and He meets us there. He will never leave us or forsake us. His grace is sufficient for us, made perfect in our weakness.

In the end, God’s faithfulness prevails. He blesses Hagar with a son, Ishmael, and reaffirms His promise to her. Through her story, we are reminded that we are never alone in our struggles. God is with us, guiding us through the wilderness towards a future filled with hope and promise. We just need to humbly obey and trust Him.

Pang Vang

Pang Vang is married to Reverend Thai Vang and serves alongside her husband in Maplewood, MN. Together they have four children: Angelina, Austin, Isabella-Joi, and Isaac-Emanuel; five grandchildren, and one son and daughter-in-law. She has served as both the director and assistant director for the Alliance Women ministry of the Hmong District. She loves nature, traveling, trying authentic food, and spending time with family.

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