Do you ever feel overlooked? Do you ever feel unseen, perhaps by your boss or with a promotion, in dating, or even by your spouse? The human heart longs for connection, understanding, and to be known. We want to be loved and valued for who we are, not necessarily for what we do. It can hurt emotionally to have those closest to us misunderstand us or say unkind things about us or our character.
Biblically speaking, there is a woman whose story is often overlooked in the Bible. Many people know the stories of David against Goliath, Noah and the ark, or Moses and the Ten Commandments. Sometimes women of the Bible and their stories can be overlooked by the church and Christianity, and that is where I want to give a special shout-out to author and speaker Liz Curtis Higgs. When I worked at a Christian bookstore, her books were often on our Top 20 wall. I have always wanted to read something by her, but I actually never have until recently. Higgs seems to have a heart for women and stories of women in the Bible in particular and what we can learn from them. She has authored books like Bad Girls of the Bible, Really Bad Girls of the Bible, Unveiling Mary Magdalene, and Slightly Bad Girls of the Bible. I found Slightly Bad Girls of the Bible at my local library recently, and I have been blessed by her wise insights and Biblical depth as I have been reading it. She inspired me to write a short devotional about Hagar on my blog.
Hagar is a woman of the Bible who I speculate is likely not mentioned by many Bible pastors, priests, or teachers. I think this is unfortunate, because Hagar is someone that many women can identify with. She did not have the perfect life. Hagar was an Egyptian maidservant to Sarai (later named Sarah), and she was given by Sarai to Sarai’s husband Abram (later named Abraham), to become another wife to him and have a child by him because Sarai was barren. Abram went along with this plan, and he slept with Hagar and she became pregnant. Hagar was in what most people would consider an extremely uncomfortable situation, to put it mildly (Genesis 16: 1-4).
I will sidestep the hot coal about why Old Testament times allowed men to have more than one wife, because that is something that I honestly do not totally understand. I think that most people today will agree that having more than one wife in a home, or more than one husband, seems to be a total recipe for major problems, jealousy, and disaster. Sarai began to mistreat Hagar, and Abram looked the other way, even though Hagar was bearing his child and it was not right that she was mistreated, perhaps even abused. Hagar ran away, and it was there that the angel of the Lord found her and spoke to her (Genesis 16:4-8). The angel of the Lord spoke to her and said, “You are now with child and you will have a son. You shall name him Ishmael, for the Lord has heard of your misery.” My Bible footnote says that Ishmael means “God hears.” Then Hagar actually gave God a name and said: “You are the God who sees me.” (Genesis 16:11- 13). Liz Curtis Higgs elaborates on this well with modern day applications for us when she says, “It’s reassuring to know our suffering never escapes his notice. God sees and God hears. Hears our muffled sobs late at night. Hears our whispered pleas in doctors’ waiting rooms…What comfort, knowing we are loved by a God who listens”(Higgs, 2007, p. 51).
May we know that God cares for us and hears us, just like he did for Hagar long ago. He cares what you are going through and about the hurt in your heart.
Higgs, L.C. (2007). Slightly Bad Girls of the Bible. Colorado Springs, Colorado: WaterBrook Press.
Holy Bible, New International Version, (1973). International Bible Society: Zondervan.