The child grew and was weaned, and on the day Isaac was weaned Abraham held a great feast. 9 But Sarah saw that the son whom Hagar the Egyptian had borne to Abraham was mocking, 10 and she said to Abraham, “Get rid of that slave woman and her son, for that woman’s son will never share in the inheritance with my son Isaac.”
11 The matter distressed Abraham greatly because it concerned his son. 12 But God said to him, “Do not be so distressed about the boy and your slave woman. Listen to whatever Sarah tells you, because it is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned. 13 I will make the son of the slave into a nationalso, because he is your offspring.”
14 Early the next morning Abraham took some food and a skin of water and gave them to Hagar. He set them on her shoulders and then sent her off with the boy. She went on her way and wandered in the Desert of Beersheba.
15 When the water in the skin was gone, she put the boy under one of the bushes. 16 Then she went off and sat down about a bowshot away, for she thought, “I cannot watch the boy die.” And as she sat there, she began to sob.
17 God heard the boy crying,and the angel of God called to Hagar from heaven and said to her, “What is the matter, Hagar? Do not be afraid; God has heard the boy crying as he lies there. 18 Lift the boy up and take him by the hand, for I will make him into a great nation.” – Genesis 21:8-18
Don’t ever let them see you sweat…So they say. The idea being that if people see your weak spots they’ll take advantage of you. They’ll go for your weak spot. You’ll be passed over as a weakling.
Jesus says, “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted” (Matthew 5:4).
Emotions withheld, repressed, and denied will inevitably erupt. Sometimes at a very inopportune moment. Sometimes resentment builds and such resentment comes out against those we love most.
It seems that Hagar is not so much taking Jesus’ advice. Nor is she repressing her distress. She is simply mourning her difficult plight. She has been kicked out of Abraham’s household. She has a young child. She has no way to care for or provide for this child. She has no one to turn to. For that reason she neither needs to hide her emotions. Nor does she need to let her true feelings out.
But that’s not quite the whole story. The whole story is the story of God. It’s inevitably about God’s love and care for all people. But note well: God has a special place in his heart for widows an orphans. It shows up here. Hagar is distressed. And she lets it out. The only one who can see at this moment is God. And he does see.
Whatever your plight, let God see. Those who never let other see them sweat, who never let their pain be known, or never become vulnerable, will also never find the comfort that Jesus promises. But when we become vulnerable before him, we will find true comfort. Hagar experiences this. God promises it to us as well.