Listen to me, you who pursue righteousness and who seek the LORD: Look to the rock from which you were cut and to the quarry from which you were hewn; Isaiah 51:1
Ever been the brunt of a cruel and twisted joke? I have, yesterday! I walk into MY Walmart and the baking aisle had been split into two different locations none of which I could find. The eggs, cheese, yogurt even the juice boxes for crying out loud were all mixed up!!! Who thinks up these things! I’m sure it’s apart of some ingenious marketing strategy to flip a store but really!! I know my Walmart (or I used to) to where I could organize my list according to my path through the store (maybe that sounds a bit OCD but I take 6 kids, two carts, and grocery shop for a family of eight) and this method allows me to complete the mission in 45 min flat (not included the check out time… but that’s another story for another time).
I figure who wants our crazy train in their store longer than we need to be! I guess Walmart likes me more than I thought because now we have increased our shopping time to a 2 hour quest of which we may or may not emerge with the correct dinner ingredients! (Just grab some frozen waffles this train is leaving the building!!)
“Can someone please help the crazy train lady in aisle 8?!!” I haven’t heard that over the intercom (yet) however can you relate to wanting some help with the crazy train of thought your mind can take at times!!? Read Genesis 16. You can’t fault Hagar from the train of thought her mind took. Talk about interesting family dynamics. Do you see in verse 5 Sarai’s response to the building drama? You are responsible for the wrong I am suffering… That tends to be a typical knee jerk response for many of us. We look around for who’s fault this can be traced back to. Sometimes our hurt is caused by someone else but finding the one to blame has never really made my problems go away, the thing is still done and the act still hurts. There is no lasting healing in the blame game.
Abram in verse 6 tries to wash his hands of it all, Your servant is in your hands… I’ve found ignoring the problem never makes it go away either it just ends up rearing its ugly head again at the most unexpected times and usually with such ferocity that even I’m taken by surprise!
Hagar’s response is to run away (verse 6). Blaming, ignoring, and running from issues has only led me to a ride on the crazy train of thought, and that train only heads to the deep dark zone. But Psalm 139:7-12 states, Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast. If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me,” even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you. For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful I know that full well. Do you know this full well?!
In that passage it makes no reference to any exceptions to the rule and God’s word is Truth (John 17:17). He loves you and can find you in the deep dark zone. And wouldn’t you know Genesis 16:7 states, The angel of the LORD found Hagar near a spring in the desert – God can find you in the desert places of your mind, in the places you feel hope has died.
In Jesus hope never dies, He is our living hope! 1 Peter 1:3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead – Notice there was a stream in Hagar’s dessert. That’s impossible you might say but, See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland. Isaiah 43:19 The probable is not any harder than the improbable for our God! Amen!
God engages in conversation with Hagar… wait are you thinking, well gosh if I could only hear the live voice of God I could get off this crazy train too!!… For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thought and attitudes of the heart. Hebrews 4:12 Sounds to me like the very alive voice of God!
God speaks purpose and great promise over Hagar and don’t you know He does for you too!!! Sometimes we need to pray, read His word and CHOOSE joy, re-frame our situation from His perspective and filter our thoughts through the Truth of His living Word. I’m in no way saying this is easy. There have been times the desert place of my mind has been created by the shattering of my heart to dust like sand that can feel like quicksand. But He can find you even there and lift you out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire, he can set your feet on a rock and give you a firm place to stand, it says in Psalm 40:2!
Paul when chained to a guard was able to write, Rejoice in the Lord (not in your circumstance but in the Lord and he knew that would bear repeating as desert winds can be deafening at times) I will say it again: Rejoice! Verse 6, Do not be anxious about anything (somethings? NOT ANYTHING), but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds (yes your mind so that you can choose to exit the crazy train) in Christ Jesus. Phil. 4:4,6
Nothing can come to us that isn’t first sifted through God’s hands, hands that are able to make all things work for good (Romans 8:28). So Gen. 16 ends with Hagar understanding more of who God is, more of His character. Her heart now just a little more deeply romanced by His love. She says in verse 13, You are the God who sees me… That same God sees you too. Not only is He able to lock eyes on you in a crowded room but He also knows your name. Lets turn to John 20 and please read 10-18.
Do you see we enter the scene with a girl crying outside a tomb… but wait, sometimes the sorrow that stretches your heart to the breaking point might be what Jesus is using it to stretch it to hold overflowing hope and joy (Eph. 2:4-7)! This girl also comes with a history (don’t we all), in Luke 8:2 tells us she was cured from seven demons! The number 7 is the number of completion in the Bible so could it be she was considered completely gone yet we serve a God of the living not the dead (Luke 20:38), His specialty is resurrection!!
So this gal Mary Magdalene stays when everyone else has gone on… when you have the Living Hope living within you, you can go from strength to strength (Psalm 84:7) you can hold on because when your strength is gone it’s Him holding on to you. She held on and who meets her, who finds her right where she is at, who sees her? JESUS, just as He promises! He saw Hagar and years later He sees Mary and He see’s you today (Hebrews 13:8) What happens in verse 16?! It’s not until Jesus calls out her specific, individual name that she understands who He really is. This is her Jesus who died but conquered death for all of eternity and is alive again… and took the time to meet with HER (1 Cor. 15:55-57)!! No greater love.
If He knows the name of each star (Psalm 147:4) He most definitely knows your name! Turn to Isaiah 43:1 and insert your name for Jacob and Israel!! Remember, Romans 2:11 states, For God does not show favoritism. So Jacob and Israel are not loved more that you, He sees and knows your name too and want’s to meet you right where you are at to speak His promises and His living Truths over you too.
Will we choose to cry out to Him who sees us, Who knows our individual names and bend our knee to listen?! Life can be like a marching band at half time… on the field the musicians feel like a scrambled mess just marching according to the conductors directions. If they look up however at the screen shot taken from the above video camera they would see that, Oh ya we are spelling something out or I see it now, its the mascots face! But if they navigated off course while on the field because it just didn’t make sense the picture would be wrecked! He knows things we don’t and understands things we can’t, (Isaiah 55: 8-9) might we just pray for ever increasing trust in Him! He understands, I mean what doesn’t make crazy sense either is that Jesus who knew no sin was crucified!!!! He understands having to remain faithful when the plan doesn’t compute logically and is excruciatingly painful. But He rose from the gave to call you to rise too, call you by name like He did for Mary, to say, like He did to Hagar, I see YOU. May we trust our Prince of Peace to drive (so we can rest) our train of thought all the way into His Kingdom.
In His promises we can trust He is using every step on the field for good, stay the course. Psalm 119:162 I rejoice at Your word, as one who finds great treasure. The treasure of His Word points to the treasure of a Kingdom, a Kingdom of which is inside us (Luke 17:21) He puts His treasure in us regular old cracked up jars of clay (2 Cor. 4:7)! Amazing grace! A Kingdom of which He won for us by rising from the grave after His sacrifice in our place on the cross! If we want the promises we have to trust His processes. The crazy train stops here. You know… the frozen waffles are right next to the frozen dinner section, that much they have not moved, so maybe it’s not so bad and we will have a half decent dinner after all.
Jesus, direct my train of thought, transform and renew my mind, fixing it on You the perfecter of my faith. Help me remember the solid Rock from which I was cut, and to wallpaper my mind with the Truth You speak over me in You living Word. Thank you for all the true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, praiseworthy things You have given me to think about. May I choose joy in You because You see me, know my name and have won for me a Kingdom of the everlasting kind! Praise Your Name Jesus, Praise Your name.
Independent Read: Phil. 4:8, 2 Cor. 4:7-9, Romans 12:2, Hebrews 12:2, 2 Chronicles 16:9, Psalm 94:19, Psalm 95:1, Zeph. 3:12-17, Revelation 17:14