Lessons From A Maidservant – Part 1
Written by Felicia McKnight
In the book of Genesis God promised Abram and Sarai a son. God took so long to fulfill the promise that Sarai gave up on God and decided to cause the promise to come to pass by her own hands. She authorized her husband to sleep with the maidservant, Hagar, so that they could build their family. With Sarai’s permission the bedroom transaction occurred and Hagar conceived a son for Abram. She is now pregnant and Sarai is not. Recently Hagar and I had a chat and I discovered there are several lessons to be learned from a Maidservant.
Lesson #1 – Know When It’s Time To Flee
“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.”
Since Sarai could not have a child she became upset when Hagar did conceive a child by her husband Abram. The Bible does not tell us exactly what Sarai’s emotions were, but when another woman is pregnant by your husband and you have a barren womb it’s safe to say Sarai was probably jealous, hurt, angry, and bitter towards Hagar. If we are not careful to control our emotions we can act out and lash out towards others in unhealthy ways which is exactly Sarai did to Hagar. The situation became so abusive and so overwhelming that Hagar couldn’t take it anymore and she ran away from home. Hagar was being chastised for doing what she was told to do by her boss. She completed her “other job duty as assigned”. When Hagar should have been rewarded for meeting her workplace goals she was punished. Pregnancy is a sensitive and emotional time for a woman, so abuse was the last thing Hagar needed or deserved as she bore Abram’s son. Hagar was dealing with two situations here: a hostile work environment and domestic abuse. We don’t know if it was physical, verbal, emotional, or all of the above, but what we do know is abusive situations are not good and should never be tolerated by anyone. Fortunately Hagar knew this and she left.
Have you ever been so overwhelmed by a situation that you just wanted to leave and never look back? Abusive situations are not the only situations we flee from. We can find ourselves in other “harsh” situations that leave us feeling like we deserve so much better. They leave us feeling unhappy and ready to break free. Unhappy situations like jobs not going anywhere, a hostile work environment, relationships that are not fruitful or supportive, careers that are meaningless, churches we are not growing in and so much more and we have to come to the point of knowing when it is time to leave.
Leaving a circumstance or a person is not the easiest thing to do. It takes strength and determination. Especially when it is a situation or person you are comfortable with or have time invested in. If the situation is one you are not happy in and having more bad days then good, then that is a sign it’s time to leave. Knowing when to leave takes wisdom and strength. These are two things we can ask God for and he promised in His word He would give it to us. He said He would never put more on us than we can bare and He will always provide a way out. (1 Corinthians 10:13) “If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking.” (James 1:5) “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:13) If you find yourself in a situation like Hagar, then it’s time to seek God on your escape plan.
Lesson #2 – Sometimes You Just Need a Break
“The angel of the LORD found Hagar near a spring in the desert; it was the spring that is beside the road to Shur.” (Genesis 16:7)
Not only are there situations we need to get away and close the door completely, but sometimes you just need a refreshing break from people. Individuals can enter into relationships that were once a good thing. Over time hurt and not being on the same page can damage what once was. We tend to hold on to history, memories, hurt, and pain by other people. The relationship doesn’t progress but only gets worse making it difficult to heal itself. Taking a break from a person allows you the opportunity to self- reflect and evaluate the situation without the influence of the other party. Sometimes breaks work for relationships and paves the way for reconciliation and healing. Then there are times you get a clearer answer away from that person and you realize it’s time to shut the door and move on.
Life can get overwhelming as well when you have to juggle family, bills, careers, education, ministry, etc.
A simple solution to an overwhelmed life is to just get away from it all. I remember in 2013 I endured so much and things got so overwhelming that I knew I needed to get away. I made a bold decision and booked my first vacation all by myself. I packed up and traveled out of the country and it was the best thing I have ever done for myself. I knew that vacation might not solve my problems, but it helped me temporarily get away from them all. I was able to clear my head, de-stress, have fun and spend time with God without the interruptions of family, friends, and daily life routines. It was a blessing to have my cell phone off for five days. Although the problems still existed I was able to get a refreshing renewal of my mind that I may not have gotten at home.
When you are feeling overwhelmed consider getting away like Hagar did. It doesn’t have to be for five days like mine, but an overnight retreat could do wonders. You may not be able to afford a long vacation, but there are so many affordable options now. With discount websites like priceline.com, hotwire.com, groupon getaways and a few more you can plan yourself a short staycataion or an overnight hotel stay to temporarily get away from it all. It may not solve your problems, but I can testify that it will certainly help you regroup and breathe.
Today I encourage you to examine your stressful situations. Seek God for clarity and direction on the matter to know if it’s time to shut the door completely or just take a break. God doesn’t want His children in situations that leaves them unhappy and miserable. He desires to give us his best. He will let you know when it’s time and He may even prompt you to just get away for a little while to clear your mind. Now if you do go away don’t take running away from home for its literal meaning. Be sure to let a trusted person know where you are. *smile* I learned a lot from Hagar, so stay tuned for Part 2 on next week. Be Blessed and Encouraged.
Heavenly Father, typically we look down on the help. However after reading the story of Hagar I learned you speak to us through all people. Help us not to overlook messages from heaven by judging the book by its cover or the person by their status. I pray for those that are in unhappy situations where they find themselves hurting, unhappy, and miserable. I pray that you would grant each person wisdom, discernment, and strength to know when it’s time to walk away for good. I pray that you would heal every hurting heart. Help us to trust you that when one door closes and even better door will open as you always desire to give us your best. When life becomes overwhelming I pray that you would provide us with the resources for a temporary way of escape to regroup and rejuvenate our mind. We thank you that you will never give us more than we can bare and we trust that no matter what you are working all things out for our good. In Jesus name. Amen