Show me your bible and I’ll show you an anthology of pain, struggle, death, rape, heartbreak, loneliness, example after example of the absolute worst of humanity. Show me your newspaper and I’ll point out the same. Where is the God of our faith during seasons of desperation? Where was He when the US bombed Syria, when civilians, children, are being slaughtered in the street? Is He with the missing girls of DC? Did He comfort the many trans women as they lay dying by the hands of unknown assailants across the US? Does He stop by the homes of those affected by lead in their water or calm the fears of those dependent upon the Affordable Health Care Act to live, who worry that at any moment their medicine or treatment could be out of reach? And what of the artist? The poet, the musician, the painter, who depends upon the national endowment to sustain their life’s purpose and add beauty to the world we live in; does He hear their whispered prayers?
Are you there God? It’s me, Stevi. Angry, sad, hurt, confused, scared me.
Show me your bible and I will show you the story of Hagar; the story of a servant girl who was forced by her mistress to sleep with her master, became angry with her mistress and subsequently mistreated by the same. She is so like me. Doing her duty and fulfilling a purpose she never asked for, and did so even when she was in a delicate and vulnerable state. No wonder she was mad at Sarai. Sarai who was not yet Sarah the revered mother of old, no, she was Sarai the impatient. She was Sarai the oppressor, the abuser, the user, the sly, the slick, who else would come up with that kind of scheme? Sarai the desperate, that’s who. And Hagar hated her for it. We don’t know much about Hagar either. We don’t know if she was a slave due to a debt or if she was sold by her own family. We don’t know if she came from a lineage of slaves or was a foreigner kidnapped and sold to Sarai. What we do know is that she didn’t have a choice in her pregnancy. And when Sarai mistreated her, she ran off.
But then an Angel appeared. The angel told her of Ishmael, which means God Hears, who was to come forth from her womb. God had heard of her misery and sent an angel to intercede. She still had to return to the mess she was running from, for her destiny was forever linked to it. (Sound familiar?) She had to submit to bring forth the wild man, the father of descendants too numerous to count. She had to return so that she could gain what was hers.
So now, show me your bible and I’ll show you a collection of stories about redemption, passion, love, forgiveness, power, and hope. Show me your newspaper and I’ll show opportunities to live out our destiny as the children of God. Show me a mirror and I’ll show you Hagar in the reflection. Living in a world I often want to run from, knowing my destiny is tied to it. And God does see me, hear me, is indeed with those who suffer, who die, who cry, who are wounded and weary. And because He so loved this world, His creation, that He would give his own life, God has called us to the fight too. He has called us, His beloved, to share his message in the midst of the mess. He is the God who sees, and knows, and loves, then and now. I have seen the one who sees me, El Roi, and He is with us, even until the end of the age.
Stevi is a lover of God and people, a wife, mother, and writer, not necessarily in that order. You can catch her musings on facebook, twitter, and at dearstevi.wordpress.com.