Today’s Scripture: Genesis 16:1-6
Now Sarai, Abram’s wife, had not been able to bear children for him. But she had an Egyptian servant named Hagar. 2 So Sarai said to Abram, “The Lord has prevented me from having children. Go and sleep with my servant. Perhaps I can have children through her.” And Abram agreed with Sarai’s proposal. 3 So Sarai, Abram’s wife, took Hagar the Egyptian servant and gave her to Abram as a wife. (This happened ten years after Abram had settled in the land of Canaan.)
4 So Abram had sexual relations with Hagar, and she became pregnant. But when Hagar knew she was pregnant, she began to treat her mistress, Sarai, with contempt. 5 Then Sarai said to Abram, “This is all your fault! I put my servant into your arms, but now that she’s pregnant she treats me with contempt. The Lord will show who’s wrong—you or me!”
6 Abram replied, “Look, she is your servant, so deal with her as you see fit.” Then Sarai treated Hagar so harshly that she finally ran away.
Do you ever have one of those days when it seems like your spiritual life is right on track? You feel close to God – you believe God will protect you and take care of you – you know that your life is wrapped up in God’s own being. But then the next day comes and it feels like God is nowhere in sight? Or maybe you do something stupid that seems to betray the fact that you have any relationship with God at all.
Abram is having one of those days in this passage. Just a few verses before he was in close communion with God. God was making a covenant with him about his descendants and all the land they would occupy. And then, the very next day it seems, he “agreed with Sarai’s proposal” about trying to have children with Hagar. What the heck happened?
Let’s face it – Abram is just like us. We have our ups and downs in faith. We have days when we believe with all our hearts and days when we are just shy of being atheists. We have days of being so close to God we can sense God’s presence and days when God seems so far away.
The whole of the Bible is filled with people just like Abram and just like us. People who get it right, and then get it wrong, and then get it right again. And through it all God is patient, loving, kind, full of grace, and never changing.
Having a bad day in your relationship with God? Not as close to God as you once were? That’s ok. Just start making your way back. God is still there – waiting. God’s promises are still there. God’s intimacy is still there – even if we have to come back a million times more.
God forgive us for the roller coaster ride of faith we are on. Help us to remember that no matter how far we seem from you – we are never too far. Help us to remember that no matter how distant you may seem – you are actually as close as our breath. Amen