#FEARLESS365 is a yearlong study of God’s commandment to us to live without fear. For 365 days, we will focus on one scripture and volunteers from all over the world will share their personal thoughts and what God has shared with them on the specific verse. For more info… go here.
And God heard the voice of the lad. Then the angel of God called to Hagar out of heaven, and said to her, “What ails you, Hagar? Fear not, for God has heard the voice of the lad where he is.
Genesis 21:17 NKJV
Ishmael was not the easiest young man to get along with. He was fifteen when Isaac was born and no longer the apple of Abraham’s eye. He poked fun at Isaac even at the weaning celebration at about age two. He was relentless in his taunts. In some ways, he took after his mother who taunted Sarah, Isaac’s mother.
So, now here they are, the taunters. At last there could be peace in Abraham’s home. Hagar and Ishmael must have gone out into the wilderness, sat down and asked each other, “What just happened?” Job once said, “That which I greatly feared has come about.” Indeed, it was as though Hagar and Ishmael had brought about their own demise.
In I Corinthians 12, it says the loud attention getters and leaders in the church are the least important. The most important are those who are hidden (like our most vital body organs are hidden) and do their work quietly, often in secret. Isaac was kind of like that. I don’t recall him ever lashing out at anyone; he agonized, but I don’t think he lashed out. I think he was a rather quiet man. This quiet man was the one God chose to pass his blessing to Abraham on to.
So, now, what about Hagar and Ishmael out there in the wilderness? Abraham had given them all the food and water they could carry, but it does not say he gave them an animal to help carry it or carry them.
The point of complete self-destruction has finally arrived. Ishmael sits and cries and that’s all. But Hagar is busy. Hagar is watching him and lamenting him and crying out to God. Who did God hear? First God heard the cries of a young man, probably seventeen years old at the end of his rope. He has nothing left except the groaning. He has hit bottom. Only then does God step in. He tells Hagar, Ishmael’s mother, that he will now lift Ishmael up.
Did he lift Ishmael up above Isaac? No, that was not in Ishmael’s nature. God can only work with what we have in our “gut”. He lifted Ishmael up and gave him his own kingdom, one that rivaled the Hebrews for hundreds of years. God lifted him as high as he would let God lift him.
Even so, today, with our teenage and grown children, we have to wait at the sidelines and watch them get themselves into problems. And, as we watch, pray weeping. We have to wait at the sidelines and watch them hit bottom. And, as we watch, pray weeping. When they –not the parents and not the friends, but they – hit bottom, they will be as ready as they ever will be for God to lift them up.
God cannot lift them higher than what their inner self can handle. He will take them as far as they will allow God to do so.
What then? We must remember God hurts just as much when we suffer as he hurt when he watched his Son on the cross. We must also believe that things could reverse themselves completely and our child rise far above our greatest dreams, but after our death. God is not stop working when we die. He will remain behind. Pulling at our children. Tugging at our children. And calling out to them, “Don’t let go.”
Katheryn Maddox Haddad is an author and teacher of English and the Bible to Muslim’s worldwide. She teaches English over the internet using the Bible as a text book. She has taught 6000 Muslims, mostly in the middle east. Her students who have converted to Christianity are in hiding in Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Somalia, Jordan, Yemen, Palestine, and Uzbekistan. “They are my heroes.” she says.