Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "All Things Bright And Beautiful"1 (Lyrics)
Genesis 16:8a – "Hagar, servant of Sarai, where have you come from, and where are you going?" (NIV)
Genesis 21:17b – "What is the matter, Hagar? Do not be afraid." (NIV)
Single moms often carry an overwhelming burden. They've been cast with the crucial role of shaping young lives, often with limited resources both materially and non-materially. Stigmatized as less successful, they may bear the sting of shame, feeling alone, vulnerable, and ill-equipped.
Hagar found herself in such a predicament, and that's why Hagar's story in Genesis 16 and 21 can encourage single mothers today. Hagar was the Egyptian maidservant of Sarai, Abram's wife. Hagar became Abram's concubine and birthed Ishmael. This caused much domestic strife, resulting in Hagar's flight to the desert — twice.
Hagar first fled while pregnant. Then later, she found herself abandoned in the desert with her parched son, Ishmael. Yet, twice in this god-forsaken wilderness, Almighty God tenderly reached down and blessed Hagar beyond her wildest dreams. Twice, God's angel visited Hagar and called her by name.
There in the dry desert, Hagar discovered that she mattered to God — a lot! Uplifted, she uttered, "I have now seen the One who sees me." (Genesis 16:13b NIV) God spared both mother and child by providing water. He guided her and promised a destiny. Her son's name, in itself, bears a lasting testimony to her experience. The angel had said to her, "You shall name him Ishmael, for the Lord has heard of your misery." (Genesis 16:11b NIV) Those words reflect the supreme blessing for any mom: to be personally validated by God — and honoured in her motherhood!
Hagar's legacy can uplift single moms today who are desperate for God's touch in their own misery. God sees them, too. They, too, can experience His mercy and receive a blessing specifically for them and their children. Just as for Hagar, God can give them hope, purpose, and a reason to persevere.
In Scripture, wilderness sojourns were typical for those with special callings. Hagar is surely among them. After all, through Ishmael, God promised, "I will so increase your descendants that they will be too numerous to count." (Genesis 16:10 NIV)
Hagar's descendants among the Arab people still matter to God. Today, many of them are encountering the God of grace — not through any traditional religion — but through Christ's personal visitations in dreams and visions. In unprecedented numbers, they're becoming recipients of God's ancient covenant promise of salvation first announced to Abram in Genesis 15. Among Hagar's descendants are countless vulnerable moms fleeing with their children because of war, oppression, abuse, or poverty. Hagar is surely their heroine.
Today, let's pay tribute to Hagar, who, as a destitute mom, was visited by God's angel. May single moms be encouraged by God's mercy to Hagar. May they, too, hear His gentle voice whispering to them by name: "My dear one, what's the matter? Do not be afraid." May they, too, experience the life-nourishing promises of grace in Christ.
Prayer: Lord, have mercy on single moms today, both near and far. Give them an unquenchable thirst for You, that they and their children may experience Your blessings in their time of need. Amen.