It was over. She knew it.
Life had spat in her face, and she had spat back, once.
Only now, her mouth was too dry to even swallow.
Her lips were cracked and her throat was raw as sandpaper.
The scorching sun beat down on her head and she collapsed under the dried little bush that offered no shade at all.
Her life, as hard and shattered as it had been, would end here, in the cruel desert.
Alone. Her child, the pride and joy of her life, lay wilting under the glare of the sun just over her shoulder, but out of sight.
She had looked away.
She could not watch this.
A slave, bent under the burden of a life of endless tasks.
Of water to be carried, tents put up and taken down, animals to be fed, the master and his demanding wife to please. Even her child had been a target of her mistress’ jealousy; the joy of his presence turned to resentment and anger.
All her years of service had meant nothing.
The gritty sand slipped from between her fingers and tears too dry to reach her eyes burned deep.
What did she do to deserve this?
What kind of God would promise love and then lead one here, to die of thirst?
It’s a dry, desolate place. You have been here.
Where the wind howls lonely and rustles the dead grass at your feet.
Sand gets between your toes and shade is nowhere to be found.
But the worst thing is, you are alone.
Alone with your fear.
With your failures.
They mock you and spit condemnation at you. Again.
This is who you are. You have become your failure.
Or maybe it is your loss that shatters you.
The grave hasn’t settled yet, but the world keeps going.
People talk too loudly next to you about the weather, or their upcoming vacation.
The world mocks your grief by daring to go on.
To live and laugh each day, when all you can do is breathe and try to survive.
You wish life would end. Being alone is worse than you ever imagined it could be.
Then He comes.
In the moment when you have no strength to speak or faith to pray, He is suddenly there. Perhaps without you even calling his name.
He is just THERE.
His presence in shocking. He knew where you were. He takes in the stark surroundings in a flash, and looks deep into your eyes. And you know what He says?
“Do not be afraid.”
The fears crumble and courage rises. Fresh air fills your lungs.
The story isn’t over after all. He was watching the whole time. He knew.
He feels the pain, He knows about the warm tears that drip silently into the pillow at night, the pang deep in your heart that cannot be expressed. He sees the way you look in the mirror, the ways you kick yourself for failing your children again. Again and again.
And Hagar suddenly remembers her own words, “You are the God of seeing.”
She was shattered and alone before, and He came to her then, too.
Don’t believe the lie that you are abandoned.
That you are alone.
‘Cause right now, in your hard place, He sees.
Not in a cold, unfeeling way, but with deep love and excitement, because He is preparing you for something big. Something much much greater than you can imagine.
So even in this blind moment, take heart.
(Photo credits to the amazing grettagrapy.com)