Once again God heard Hagar and Ishmael, but this time He didn’t send them back to Abraham and Sarah. He didn’t change their situation either. Instead, it says in verse 19 that He opened Hagar’s eyes, and she saw a well full of water in the middle of the desert! God gave her provision in the place where she was. He didn’t change her circumstances, but He changed HER. He gave her all that she needed for life and it says in verse 20 that God was with Ishmael as he grew. If God is with you, then you are set for life. Romans 8:31 says that, “If God is for us, who can be against us?”
As we all know, God DOES change situations. He does it all the time! He heals marriages, brings wayward children home, gives wisdom in the chaos of toddler life, provides abundantly in times of need, and heals sick bodies, but we don’t have to live long to know that there are a lot of sad situations that end differently than we had hoped.
What if God has provided or wants to provide all we need to go through our own hard situations—whatever they may be—with faith, hope, love, peace and wholeness. I am watching a friend walk through her own devastating wilderness and cannot believe her strength and peace. God has provided wells in the desert for her. It is beautiful.
This reminds me of the promise that He has given us in 2 Peter 1:3, “By his divine power, God has given us everything we need for living a godly life. We have received all of this by coming to know him, the one who called us to himself by means of his marvelous glory and excellence.”
Sometimes we mistakenly think that we need to wait for our circumstances to change before we can find wholeness. Loneliness will dissipate when we find the right friend group. Stress will go away when … Life will be easier when the kids get a little older. We will find joy when our life is a little more smooth. We will be happier when our marriage changes. We are looking to our circumstances to do for us what even good circumstances can never do. Those internal aches and nagging places will never be fixed by outward circumstances.
Just ask those who have gotten there only to find emptiness. The ones with some of the most broken hearts are those who have made it only to find that good circumstances will never touch an aching heart. An amazing marriage will never take the place of the God Who hears. Good kids won’t, a friend group won’t, a different stage in life won’t, a different job won’t, a title won’t. The truth is, none of it will. Sometimes the gift of a wilderness is encountering the God Who Hears.
Forgive me for trying to find my life in other things. I want You more than anything else in this life and if I don’t, help me to get there. Show me those places where I am looking for wholeness apart from You. Do what You need to in my heart to make me whole. Thank You that You hear me even now. I will look to You for help. I wait confidently for You to save me and you will certainly hear me (Micah 7:7).
Author: Wendy Gerdes