Trust Comes Second

I love Hagar. She’s my favorite woman in the Old Testament. It’s not because she did anything particularly amazing, but of all the names that are given to God, hers is my favorite.

She was Sarai’s Egyptian handmaid and bore Ishmael, Abram’s first son. When she fled from Sarai, an Angel of the Lord came to her. She thereafter called God, “Thou God seest me” (Genesis 16:13). I love this name, because what we most fear and what we most want, is to be seen. We want to be seen correctly, for who we really are and that, to be frank, rarely happens.

Hagar was not seen correctly by Sarai or Abram, who seemed to think of her more as a possession, than a human being. She was seen by everyone as a slave, a bondwoman. When she managed to do something that her own mistress could not, she felt this proved she was more than a slave. Can you blame her?

Sarai must have been worried about her inability to conceive. Perhaps, because it was the custom at the time, she feared it meant she had not found favor with God and that He despised her. If this was how Sarai measured God’s love, is it any wonder then, that a woman who had so little love would rejoice to see any evidence of favor?

I completely understand why this would have gone over into bragging. I know what it is to have people treat you as if you are something that you are not. To lie about you and refuse to acknowledge who you really are. I felt like I could do nothing right. They all hated me without knowing me and any attempt to reach out made things worse. The only thing I could do was get good grades at school, so I did that. I put everything I had into school. They started to call me arrogant and any mistake I made was emphasized and laughed over ten times worse as they all jeered and called me stupid.

All you want is for someone to actually see the truth—to see the real you.

It can be difficult to fight off their lies and judgements of you. You can only do it if you can see who you truly are. If you can see yourself the way God sees you.

Hagar feels like my spiritual sister because I see my own pain in her story, and she helped me to my own salvation—to find the God that sees me.

The Lord sent her back to submit to Sarai. This, I have struggled with. Decades after my own pain has passed, I continue to think about my sister Hagar. I think she was sent back because the Lord knew Abram would become Abraham and Sarai would become Sarah. Though they were blinded at this time and followed their culture without considering the view of God, God knew He could trust them.

Whenever I see the word “worthy” in scriptures, I put the word “trust” in front of it. This is to prevent me from equating worthiness with love or importance. God loves all His children, but let’s be honest, a lot of the time, He can’t trust us. Trust comes with time and experience as bonds grow tighter. God needs to rely on us, that we will do what we say when we accept His guidance and revelation.

We also need to rely on each other. To trust that our close friends will not judge us harshly, will take the time to get to know us, will not jump to conclusions, will ask us questions if they don’t understand instead of avoiding us altogether for comfort’s sake.

When the Lord told me my husband was worthy, I think He meant that my husband was worthy of love, but, more than that, He meant that my husband was worthy of my trust and worthy of the time and effort it would take for me to earn his trust as well.

God could see us both. He knew that this change in marriage and family plans had me scared and I was reliving those terrible years of depression, afraid that it would happen all over again. He knew that my husband was facing his own fears. Seeing this, as well as who we could become, God trusted us with each other.

All the difficult questions, the hard conversations were how we built our trust in one another again. Love comes first, trust comes second, and then they feed off of each other and grow together. When both are present, unity can be found.