This past weekend at Alameda Church of Christ was our annual Ray Evans Seminar with guest speaker Dr. Charles Rix, who is the Dean of the College of Biblical Studies at Oklahoma Christian University. The theme was “The Old Testament Roots of Our Faith,” and as Dr. Rix connected the dots between the Old and New Testaments for us, he drew some important insights from the story of Hagar in Genesis 16.
In that story, Hagar is a stranger in a foreign land serving the household of Abram and Sarai. She is drawn into the unfolding drama of what God plans to do through Abram when Abram and Sarai grow impatient with God’s timing and decide to create the family God promised them by their own means.
This does not go well.
Hagar becomes as a wife to Abram and gets pregnant – exactly as Sarai planned it.
But Sarai did not plan on the envy that would be conceived in her as she saw Hagar “accomplish” something she could not. And Sarai treated Hagar harshly, as a result.
So harshly that Hagar ran away – to a dangerous place with no resources.
And this is when the messenger of the Lord “finds” her.
The messenger tells her that she will be taken care of and that the descendants of her son would be great in number. In other words, Hagar will be significant and she will not be forgotten.
Hagar, then, becomes the first person in Scripture to attach a name to God by calling him El Roi, which means, “the God who sees me.”
In Hagar’s most desperate moment, God showed up.
God saw her.
God had compassion on her.
God provided for her.
And God assured Hagar that her story would move forward.
As Dr. Rix said to us, “God is with us in our most painful moments. He meets us in the pain and moves us forward.”
I love that thought.
God moves us forward.
When I look back on my life, I can see that this is true. God’s constant presence has given me the strength to keep moving forward in life, through both the good and bad times.
Even now, in the midst of grief and loss, I know that God will move me forward in the direction of his perfect and pleasing will.
He moves us forward.
Let that thought guide you and inspire you this week.
Because no matter what you face, you know that God will be there to move you forward.
Have a great week!