“Take your son, your only son, Isaac, whom you love … . Abraham’s heart had dropped to the pit of his stomach. He could feel the sweat cold on his temples, as he thought, “Lord, could this please not be a hard request, another stretching, another move beyond my comfort zone?” He had wanted to cover his ears, but he could not cover God’s mouth, and God had continued as if he had not known Abraham’s desperate thoughts, as if it did not matter.
Hagar had always been carried along by the current of other people’s lives. In Egypt she had been sold as a slave to the highest bidder. Abraham bought her and Sarah took her as her personal servant. They had brought her to Canaan, and then quite unexpectedly, her own body, her womb, had been called into service.
In the harem, Sarah waited. She waited to be called in to King Abimelech, or for someone — Abraham, God? — to come to her rescue. One day dragged into the next, and still nothing. God had said she and Abraham would have a child next year. Now Abraham had ruined everything. But why hadn’t God stopped him?
Praying Scripture: O Lord, so often my heart is lifted up, my eyes raised too high. I’ve occupied myself with things too great and marvelous for me. I’ve been arrogant, thinking more of myself than I ought, in regards to my fellow man, but most of all in regards to you.
Lord, if it were the number of our prayers, the sheer volume of our words that would move your heart, if it were the depth of our desperation, the strength of our need, the sharpness of our pain, then surely you would have come to our rescue by now. But it was your own mercy […]