Sarai was not willing to let an arrogant slave supplant her role as first wife. Hagar’s plan starts to go awry when her attitude leads to Sarai’s exasperated and agonized cry to Abram, “May the Lord judge between you and me.” Abram’s response is designed to sooth his wife and get him out of trouble, “do to her as you please.”
Hagar planned for her journey to be ‘upwardly mobile,’ instead she finds herself treated harshly and decides to run away.
“That will teach them,” she tells herself. “I’ll leave with the baby in my womb. Then Abram will still be childless, angry with Sarai for sending me away, and I can return in triumph.”
One thing that surprised me in this re-reading of the story was Hagar’s attitude. She saw herself as the victim and it affected her actions—her plans for her journey. If Hagar had joyfully embraced the idea of being a surrogate mother and bearing a child for Abram, a wealthy and honored chieftain, she would have expressed a different attitude toward Sarai and the downward spiral of rage and running away would never have happened.
I realize that I don’t respond joyfully to all opportunities and journeys, either. In fact, I very often argue and complain when things don’t go my way. Like Hagar, I decide to run away to avoid the difficulties of ‘birthing’ a task. It’s all related to my attitude about the journey. If the trip seems onerous or boring or too long, I pout and complain. “Are we there yet?” becomes my plaint, like a small child.
What would it be like to live life looking forward to each new turn in the road as an adventure? This week, I challenge myself, and you, to look at the myriad experiences that cross your path as the basis for joy rather than reasons for complaining. Like these cats, I am going to try and see the things I call "obstacles" as fun experiences that stretch my (spiritual) muscles instead of frightening roadblocks that keep me from doing whtat I want...
Next week, we will continue to look at Hagar's story and see what happens when we find ourselves at the 'end of our rope.' See you then.