Saturday, August 27, 2011

Marchin' In The Desert

Psalm 136:16(MSG)
The God who marched His people through the desert, His love never quits.

I've been thinking about the desert a lot today.  Largely due to the fact that it is so incredibly hot still and I'm soooooo ready for cool fall weather!  Fall is my favorite time of year.  I would have a difficult time taking up a permanent residence in an area that didn't have seasonal change....especially fall!  Walking outside in the 104 degree weather, even for a few minutes, is so completely oppressive.  I cannot imagine marching day after day after unending day in it!  I am afraid I would be complaining just like the Israelites!  Oh bother.

I reread the story of Ishmael and Hagar's forced trip out into the desert  this morning.  It's the one where Sarah insists that Abraham make the two of them leave and walk out into the wilderness to wander aimlessly until their food and water runs out, because she (Sarah) doesn't want Ishmael to share in the family inheritance. (Genesis 21)  Anyway, when the water was gone and Hagar realized that they were in some serious trouble, she leaves Ishmael under a bush and walks away, unable to watch what she is sure will be her son's demise. 

Genesis 21:15-17 (NLT)~When the water was gone, she left the boy in the shade of a bush.  Then she went and sat down by herself about a hundred yards away.  "I don't want to watch the boy die,"  she said, as she burst into tears.  Then God heard the boy's cries, and the angel of God called to Hagar from the sky, "Hagar, what's wrong?  Do not be afraid!  God has heard the boy's cries from the place where you laid him."

This whole story is such a mystery to me.  One of the most intriguing parts, is when the angel of God asks Hagar...."Hagar, what's wrong?"  That's so strange to me, cuz God knows and I would guess the angel would know as well, why she is crying...right?  So why did He ask her that?  It had to have been for her sake.  Maybe He wanted her to ask  herself that.  Sort of a "speak it out loud to clarify your feelings" sort of exercise.

It might make more sense to me if the angel of the Lord said something like...."Are you kidding me?  Hagar, seriously, what are you crying about?!  Don't you trust me?!  Don't you remember when you ran away from your mistress and I found you beside the desert spring on the road to Shur? (Genesis 16)  Remember that I promised you then that I would give you more descendants than you can count.  At that time you called me "the God who sees me".  Wow, you don't really think I would have told you that and then turn right around and let your son die, do you??!  Really....??  You sure do forget quickly!

Yep, that makes more sense to me.  I can soooo relate to Hagar.  I wish I couldn't, but it's and Hagar...we got a lot in common.  Walking in the desert....dropping our son off at a military school 200 miles away......err I mean under a bush....looking away because it's too painful to watch what might happen to him....and then crying our eyes out in desperation like he is going to die, instead of remembering that God promises that His love never quits!  He tells us that He will take care of us and our kids!!  

God is whispering to me tonight.  He's saying, "I am here and I've got this under control".  Just like "He marched His people through the desert", He might make you and I (and our kids) walk through a hot and dry land....tough times....but He says, "Do not be afraid!  I hear your cries and I am handling the situation!"

You are so amazing!  I am asking tonight for Your help in the "trust department".  I pray that Your word would light a burning path in our hearts so that we can trust You for what seems like the impossible.  Help us to trust You for physical healing, restored relationships, finances, our children, and the list goes on and on!
In Jesus Name,


  1. Yep, I know exactly what you mean. I had my own "Ishmael" experience the first time we left Laurie at her house. But had to put that trust thing into high gear and it has been a growing experience for us all. I'm certain it will be for your family too. Hang in there!

  2. Awe...thanks Sharon. It is so encouraging to hear stories of how God has worked His love in other's lives. It is a real faith builder for sure! I appreciate you sharing that!