I’d barely tiptoed into dreamland before hearing a clamor down the hall. Rising in the moonlit shadows, I tend to the night-owl-noise of my offspring before shuffling back to the warmth of my sheets.
Yet my mind has long forsaken sleep, wandering instead through a mental desert of checklists and concerns. A tide of trouble beats against the shores of my soul, begging a prayer or two or ten. My heart’s not skilled at laying down a world of worry without putting my sticky fingerprints on it again and again and again.
Oh, Father, that You’d spring up a well in this desert, I pray.
And in the soft glow before dawn, my thoughts drift to another weary mom named Hagar, who we meet in the pages of Genesis.
God promised a son to Abraham and his wife Sarah, but Sarah grew tired of waiting and arranged for Abraham to father a child with her maidservant, Hagar.
As Sarah’s maidservant, Hagar was regarded as belonging to Sarah, therefore Hagar’s child would belong to her as well. Sarah’s plan for parenthood succeeded, and Hagar delivered Abraham’s firstborn child, Ishmael. Sadly, as Ishmael grew, so did the tension between these two women in Abraham’s life. (Genesis 18, 21)
Of course, God remained faithful to His promise, and in His appointed time, Sarah gave birth to Isaac. But the conflict between Hagar and Sarah continued, reaching an all-time high when Sarah witnessed young Ishmael harassing Isaac, and she demanded Abraham send Ishmael and Hagar away.
While trekking alone through the dusty desert with nowhere to go, Hagar and Ishmael depleted their last drop of water. Anguished, Hagar placed her son in the shade to eventually die, sat down by herself and sobbed. For all the worry and exhaustion of sustaining the survival of her family, her weary heart wept.
And, Oh, how her cry echoes through the centuries, resonating in my modern-day soul. So often I drain my last drop of physical and mental reserve—yet still, I thirst for rest amid stress.
Walking out our responsibilities as women isn’t always easy and charmed, is it, friend?
But take heart—hope abides in the most parched of places, for this wasn’t the end of Hagar’s story. The Bible tells us that the Lord saw her pain, saying, “…What’s the matter, Hagar? Do not be afraid…” (Genesis 21:17, NIV)
God called her by name. Her knew her and saw her, and cared for her anxious heart as only He could.
God calmed her soul-deep fears for the future, assuring her He would take care of her and Ishmael, repeating the promise given to her in Genesis 16:10. “Lift the boy up and take him by the hand, for I will make him into a great nation” (Genesis 21:18).
There in the midst of Hagar’s desert, God provided a wellspring of relief, for: “God opened Hagar’s eyes, and she saw a well full of water. She quickly filled her water container and gave the boy a drink” (Genesis 21:19).
And here, in this timeless tale of a worn-out, worried woman, fresh life abounds for our dehydrated spirits.
Beloved, God knows our names too, and His faithful eye is tracking us through every desert of distress we travel. He hears our cries and comforts us with the tender calm of His whisper: “Do not be afraid,” bringing healing and life to the parched ground of our weary hearts.
Be encouraged, sweet friend—He’s still the God who forms living water from desert dust.
How have you sensed God’s presence and provision in the deserts of your life? This week, journal the ways God’s shown His faithfulness to you. Return to this list when your strength needs refreshing. ♥
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