Lost sheep don’t have the capacity to find the Good Shepherd. It is the Good Shepherd who has the capacity to find lost sheep. Hagar was running away from believers, and she was running away from God. She was angry and resentful; she felt a sense of injustice. This hardly seemed like a time when she could hear the voice of God. And yet it proved to be the great turning point of Hagar’s life!
Sarai said to Abram, “Behold now, the Lord has prevented me from bearing children. Go in to my servant; it may be that I shall obtain children by her” (Gen. 16:2).
The outline of Hagar’s story is simple: Sarah wanted to have a child, and so she gives her servant, Hagar, to Abraham. Abraham agrees with the plan. Hagar conceives, and this already fractured family is plunged into a web of conflicting loyalties and hidden resentments.
Hagar’s story comes right out of the Scriptures and speaks straight into the life of the person who has never felt deeply loved. Hagar was never first in anyone’s life. No one was close enough to Hagar to know who she really was and what she really felt. There was no one she could count on—not even the father of the child she was carrying.
Abraham was the father of this child, and he had responsibility for Hagar. But Abraham did not stand up for her. He gave her up, just as Pharaoh and Sarah had done before. Hagar ended up alone, pregnant, and in the desert, which is like being alone, pregnant, and in the city today.
Who cared about this woman? Her whole life seemed to be a story of what other people wanted. She was pushed from pillar to post, according to what was most convenient for others.
This is a story for the person who feels that she has been like a pawn, moved around on the board of other people’s lives.
In the kindness of God, Hagar found herself in the family God had chosen to bless. Hagar would have learned about God from Abraham and Sarah. But they turned out to be desperately flawed believers.