Thursday, July 19, 2012

Week 5: Christy VanderWoude

Christy VanderWoude
I have recently been studying the story of Hagar.  This is a seemingly small, insignificant story, but for me it has had a huge impact on how I see God dealing with me.  For years now Hagar’s name for God has been my all time favorite.  When she met him in the desert she called him “the God who sees me.”  To me, this is the most intimate of names.  When I call on “the God who sees me” I imagine standing before him naked with all of my faults and flaws exposed.  The amazing thing is there is no shame only extreme love, acceptance, and an overwhelming sense of grace.  In that moment I know he sees all of me. Let’s start at the beginning of Hagar’s (and my) story.

 Genesis 16:7-8 - The angel of the Lord found Hagar beside a desert spring …The angel said to her, “Hagar, Sarai’s servant, where have you come from, and where are you going?”

 Don’t you love how God asks questions he already knows the answers to?  Like Hagar at the well, he knows my name, he knows better than anyone who I am. He knows my strengths and my weaknesses and he loves me. Like Hagar at the well, he knows where I have come from, he knows my past, the roads I have traveled to get to this point in my life. He has seen all my mistakes and he accepts me.  Like Hagar at the well, he knows where I am going. This brings the most comfort; he knows where I am going!  He knows what lies ahead and he is preparing me for the journey.

Genesis 16:8 - “I am running away from my mistress,” Hagar replied.

So, here it is… The reason God keeps bringing this story to my mind… I’m a runner. If things are uncomfortable I run.  If something is unpleasant I run. If conflict is impending I don’t just run, I run as fast as I can!  My desert looks a little different than Hagar’s.  My desert is my bedroom with my face in a book or on the couch watching TV, anything to escape.

Genesis 16: 9 - Then the angel of the Lord said, “Return to your mistress and submit to her authority.”

Just like Hagar, God has found me in my desert place and given me a message that is heard throughout scripture. Return! Submit!  He is calling me to turn from my sin, return to him and submit to his will.  God’s grace is unfathomable. No matter how many times I run from him his message is always the same… “Come back. My grace is sufficient. My love is never-ending.”

Here is the beauty of the story.  God doesn’t send Hagar back empty, but he fills her heart with a promise.  She, a lowly Egyptian slave, will have more descendants than she can count.  She will have a son and he will be named Ishmael.  Ok, at this point the promise goes down hill. Basically her son is going to be an ass, but hey! She won’t be alone.  God has also filled my heart with promises.  He will never leave me, nor forsake me.  He will free me from all my fears.  He will meet all my needs.  He will forgive me.  He will save me. Like Hagar’s promise, it’s not perfect.  He never promises that there won’t be struggles and hard times, but I know that “the God who sees me” will walk with me through those times loving me, accepting me, truly seeing me!


  1. Love this post Christy! Thank you for being so transparent! That's a word I needed to hear!