To the Single Moms…

Genesis 16 tells the story of history’s first-recorded single mom.

(I was reading this yesterday, and it brought tears to my eyes.)

Hagar was running, child in arms, from Sarah, after a somewhat-failed attempt at ancient surrogacy.

I don’t think she knew where she was running to. She just knew that she had to run.

I imagine that she must have felt so alone, those being the days before crowded streets, busy interstates, or bustling rest stops. Nothing but barren land and dark wilderness for miles and miles. Sand and dry bushes. Moonlight and desert.

The fear and helplessness she must have felt as a young, single mom, with no one on this planet to help her defies all description. To be sure, childbirth exposes a vulnerability and a helplessness like nothing else you will ever experience. Having someone outside of yourself who you would lay down and die for, who embodies all of your love and affection and biological pride, but over whom you really have no control, creates a dangerous and alarming dependence on Someone bigger than you.

I believe this is why people return to church in enormous rates after they have children. The generation gap who once found little relevance in organized religion suddenly becomes open and even desiresome of it.

Hagar had no one on this planet, no one other than this child she was carrying, a being whose very dependence was dependent on her –who, in turn, had no one to depend on…

And I love this-

“The angel of the Lord found Hagar beside a spring of water in the wilderness.”

As alone and fearful and isolated and vulnerable and afraid and desperate and dejected as she felt-

the God of all the universe-

GOD-

as large and infinite and holy and powerful and righteous and important as He is-

NOTICED.

And not only did He notice-

(and here’s the part that gave me chill bumps and tears)

 

Saint Augustine once famously said “The Old Testament is the New Testament concealed; the New Testament is the Old Testament revealed.”

The Old Testament is all shadow. Enigma. Mystery. Hints, shapes, and reverberations.

Jesus is the key that unlocks the profound mystery of the Old Testament. So to understand the Old Testament, one must shine the light of the cross upon it. Everything changes after Calvary.

 

In what could be an Old Testament foreshadowing of an event that would occur thousands of years later in the coming of the Christ child,

this remarkable, course-altering piercing of the omniscient into a dark world, a world full of people alone and fearful and isolated and vulnerable and afraid and desperate and dejected,

THE ANGEL OF THE LORD

appeared.

 

Commentators, scholars, and theologians alike seem to agree with overwhelming support and consistency that, although we translate this “the angel of the Lord,” the phrase in the original language is pregnant with strange arrangements of masculine pronouns, definite articles, and sentence structure, making this seem that, in the original Hebrew language, this was

JESUS.

In the Old Testament.

JESUS.

 

That as far back as Genesis 16, Jesus couldn’t help but pop into the story. He couldn’t help but enter the pages of Scripture, to step into Time, to cross from Eternity into History to make a scared single mom aware of His attention and affection.

That although there’d be several more centuries before the full consummation of His appearing, He felt He had to cross through Time and Space then because of one single mom that He had to let know,

HE NOTICED.

He WAS WATCHING.

AND HE CARED.

I see Him there, from somewhere outside of Time, peaking into the story of God as it unfolded on the pages of History and Time, unbridled and unwilling to let Hagar go it alone, eager and bursting at the seams to let her know, and to let all of us know by default, that although it’d be years before His arrival,

That although sometimes He seems silent,

He is not absent.

And He would prove this thousands of years later in a Bethlehem manger, and then on a Roman cross.

But first He had to let the story unfold.

But He gives us crumbsshadowsreverberations

traces of His presence even in Genesis.

That He cares. He notices. And we were never meant to be alone. That although He can be silent, it does not mean He is absent.

How incredible is that.

(I wonder if His Father ever found out about the Hagar thing… Maybe because I’m a dad now with mischievous kids, but I see so much of myself in there… mischievous kids breaking the rules but for a good reason, Dad proud but for consistency’s sake pretending not to notice…)

 

So where are you that He needs to find you?

Where are you that you need to hear…

I NOTICE.

I’M WATCHING.

AND I CARE.

AND ALTHOUGH I MAY SEEM SILENT,

I.

AM.

NOT.

ABSENT.

 

Read that again. Slowly. Let it wash over you.

There’s always more going on here than we could ever understand.

The characters in the Bible were not able to see out over the pages they found themselves in. They did not know in real time how their stories would end, how they’d resolve, how they’d connect.

Hagar’s story does not see full consummation for thousands of years.

HANG IN THERE.

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