God Loves Single Moms
The Jerry Springer Show. Sorry, but when I think about the story of Abraham, Sarah, and Hagar that is how it plays out in my mind. I can just see it. Abraham and Sarah are sitting together. Abraham starts off by telling the story of how God promised him that he would be the “father of many nations.” Sadly, what had begun as a testimony to faith gives way to a cautionary tale about the dangers of spiritual compromise. Abraham explains that the years had begun to pass and it was seeming less and less likely that he and Sarah would ever have children. She was barren and he wasn’t getting any younger. At this point, Sarah interrupts and tells the audience of an idea that came to her one evening. “If I can’t have children, maybe I can give my husband children through a surrogate?” She explains that the two of them agreed that Abraham would sleep with Sarah’s hand-maiden, an Egyptian woman by the name of Hagar. (Yeah, I know. Right now every woman is shaking her head in unbelief.)
At this point the curtain pulls back and out comes Hagar. I don’t envision her dressed as some type of harlot but she is clearly a lot younger than Sarah. She also has her son with her, a young boy by the name of Ishmael. Everyone in the crowd instantly recognizes the tension between the two women. They both silently glare at one another as Hagar and her son cross the stage and take their seats. Hagar immediately begins to paint a picture of injustice. She hadn’t done anything wrong. She had done exactly what her “masters” had asked of her. She slept with Abraham and she gave him a son. The only problem was that Sarah finally got pregnant and in the aftermath of the birth of her son, Ishmael had quickly become the unwanted step-child.
But that’s just my over-active imagination…
In the actual Biblical account the tension between the two women grew until Sarah finally confronted Abraham and admonished him to get rid of Hagar. The Bible tells us that Abraham was heartbroken. Yes, he had been wrong in ever taking Hagar into his bed but Ishmael was his son. The strife between the two women had not diminished his fatherly care for the boy. But in Genesis 21:12 God comforts Abraham regarding Hagar and Ishmael, reminding Abraham that the divine promise would also extend to Ishmael. And so, according to the divine directive, Abraham sends the two away into the wilderness.
We don’t know how long the two wandered around but eventually the water runs out. Hagar is lost and in the middle of a desert wilderness. She has nowhere to go and there is absolutely no one around to help her. Want a present day application? Okay, here’s one… she’s a single mother who has been left to fend for herself. The father of the child is nowhere around. There are no family members who can help. Her faith was of no apparent value in that moment. I mean, let’s be honest. Imagine her spiritual confusion. She must have thought that God hated her. He was the One who had “told” Abraham to send her away in the first place. The situation is dire to say the least. Convinced that she and her son are about to die, she sits down and begins to cry.
This is the part of the story that I just absolutely love. Look at verse 17. “God heard the lad crying; and the angel of God called to Hagar from heaven and said to her, ‘What is the matter with you, Hagar?’ Do not fear…'” Wow! When this single mom had come to the very end of her rope, when she had hit rock bottom, when she had nowhere to go and no one who could help her… she discovered that she was not alone. God was there with her. He was present in the most difficult of circumstances. He saw her need. He knew her pain. And in His great love He provided for both her and her son (see verses 18-21). At the very point when she had thrown in the towel and lost all hope, God broke through her despair and provided a miracle. I hope that any single moms who are reading this find that to be a word of hope. Whatever your present circumstances I want to remind you of these simple truths today. God has not abandoned you. He will never leave you. And He will never forsake you. Take heart, single mom. I know that it’s hard. But God loves you and He has a plan to get you through your present pain to a better place. He will not fail you.