8 And He [the angel] said, “Hagar, Sarai’s maid, where have you come from, and where are you going?” She said, “I am fleeing from the presence of my mistress Sarai.”
9 The Angel of the Lord said to her, “Return to your mistress, and submit yourself under her hand.”
I’ve written on two different occasions on this particular passage over the last five years. The results have always been tremendous. I trust God it’ll be same this time as well. On the first two occasions, people who wanted to resign from their workplaces reconsidered their actions. One is now very prominent on the job. I’m grateful to God.
Back to the passage, the simple lesson for is that, God doesn’t always deliver us from our troubles and sufferings. Sometimes, He gives us the grace to go through it. Once Sarah realised that the Hagar started despising her, Sarah tightened the screws until life became unbearable for poor Hagar and she had to flee.
Look at the message of the angel to Hagar. She was asked to return to her mistress and submit herself under her hand. (Let me add under her wicked hands). In other words, she should go and continue to endure the suffering. There was however no rebuke or advice to Madam to change from her wicked ways. She wasn’t warned to stop the human right abuses and the unfair labour practices. Hagar was asked to simply submit. Doesn’t that surprise you?
Adversities either draw us closer to God or further away from God. The choice is ours. The fact is that adversity teaches us, draws us closer to God and makes us better people, though none of us likes adversity, not even the person writing this massage.
David was the best King Israel ever had because he used moments of adversity to draw closer to God. Three thousand years on, his prayers to God, as seen in the Book of Psalms (also known as the Book of David) is an important source of strength and inspiration to all believers in our moments of distress, grief and also moments of joy. All of our human emotions are captured in the Book of Psalms. Contrast David with Saul, his predecessor and Solomon, his successor. They both faltered because they didn’t pass through the crucible of adversity like King David.
Bible says Jesus learnt obedience through the things He suffered; and that He was perfected through suffering (Hebrews 2:10, 5:8).
Joel Osteen once talked about a guy who was so despised at his workplace and never got promotion for about seven years. His supervisor simply didn’t like him and colleagues looked down on him. Naturally, he wanted to resign. Joel Osteen advised him to stay on the job, and he did. One day, the owner of the business out of the blue called the guy and said he wanted to sell the business to him. The guy laughed and said he didn’t have the kind of money the business would be going for. The business owner said he shouldn’t worry about the money. The owner then handed the business to the guy to work and pay. Simply put, he was to use proceeds from the business to pay bit by bit until everything was paid for. Can you imagine that! That’s how the guy became the owner of the lucrative business. In the twinkling of an eye, he moved from obscurity into prominence. All the managers and colleagues were now under him. He told Joel Osteen, “They used to look down on me; now they call me Boss”. That’s God for you.
In our moments of affliction, let’s not take decisions spontaneously, but prayerfully. Don’t do what they are telling you to do. Do what God is asking you to do. Think carefully before you take that almost irreversible action on the marriage.
The Lord give us the grace to go through that which He wants us to experience as part of His divine plan for our lives. Amen