Hagar’s role in biblical history is often underestimated. We equate Hagar to nothing more than a baby momma, a mistress, the slave woman who got knocked up and birthed Abraham’s illegitimate son, Ishmael (often seen as the archenemy of Christianity) into the world. But there is so much more to Hagar’s story.
Hagar was a woman of faith; I would even suggest that she was more a woman of faith than Sarah, the glorified mother of Judaism and Christianity. You see, when Sarah was given the opportunity to believe God and have crazy faith, she didn’t. God promised her a child at a point when she was so old her body was barely living, and instead of pulling a Mary and saying, “Let it be to me according to your word,” Sarah laughed…in God’s face. Like, “Ha, man, please! Miss me with all that bearing babies after 70 stuff.” Yes, Sarah later gave birth to her son, Isaac, but it was not a result of her faith. Sarah’s blessing came because she was chosen by God and nothing she did, even laughing in His face, could make God change His mind about her. Hagar’s blessing, on the other hand, came due to her unrelenting faith.
Hagar had no other choice than to trust God. A slave taken from her native land, there was no one else to trust. Sarah, her madam, the person she was undoubtedly closest to, became her rival and enemy as soon as she became pregnant by Abraham, Sarah’s husband. Abraham, her son’s father, the one she trusted to protect her and her son, deserted her. And there she was…alone……in the desert………with her son. Hagar must’ve felt like a failure as a parent. Things were so bad she set her son under a tree and walked away because she didn’t want to see him die. Can you imagine being so helpless that all you could do is walk away to avoid seeing your child perish? But God.
I wonder what Hagar thought when she initially heard God’s voice. Did she think she was hallucinating, hearing things, having a Ghetto Boys “My Minds Playing Tricks on Me” moment? I would have. But honestly, when you’re that desperate you really don’t care where the voice is coming from; you just want answers. Imagine her comfort when she realized it was God speaking to her. Consider the relief she felt when she finally saw the well God had provided to save her son’s life. And what about the peace that overcame her when God promised He would care for Ishmael from that point forward.
Unlike Sarah, Hagar wasn’t a woman of privilege. She didn’t have a backup plan. She didn’t have options, and she couldn’t concoct a plan to deliver her from her troubles. All she had was God and His Word, and that is all she needed. In actuality that’s all Sarah needed too. That’s all any of us need: God’s Word, His promise, and our faith.
Hagar’s story should be an inspiration to us all. To the folks trapped with no plan, don’t worry. God has one. To the single mothers’ who have been abandoned by their children’s father, no worries. God will provide for and father your child. And if you’ve been mistreated and disregarded by those who were supposed to care for you, let go. God will never leave or forsake you. God is.