Jackie called her friend Sandy and informed her that she was going to quit her job. When asked why, she said that her company changed management and the new boss was unfriendly towards her and very critical of her work. Rather than try and figure out the profile of her new boss and how she might modify her behavior, it was easier for Jackie to leave. Jackie does not like conflict. Not many people do.
Genesis 16:7-9—The Angel of the LORD found her by a spring of water in the wilderness, the spring on the way to Shur. He said, “Hagar, slave of Sarai, where have you come from and where are you going?” She replied, “I’m running away from my mistress, Sarai.” Then the Angel of the LORD said to her, “You must go back to your mistress and submit to her mistreatment.”
Sarai, when she concluded she would never have children, told her husband Abraham to take her slave Hagar and have a son through her. Abraham agreed with his wife’s plan and Hagar became pregnant. Unfortunately, she treated Sarai with contempt, probably, because she realized her child would be heir to Abraham’s wealth. Not surprisingly, Sarai did not take well to her comeuppance and made life miserable for her servant. Thus, we find Hagar in the passage above, doing her best to escape.
Many people think that the Shur road is a much better choice than staying put in a place where suffering is as common as breathing. We may even agree with them and encourage them to go. But, have you ever considered that God might actually want someone to suffer? What!!? Yes, it may be His plan for you, or me, or others, to submit to mistreatment. Why?
Several things occur when we willingly remain under the authority of an oppressor. First, we learn to trust God instead of leaning on our flight syndrome. Second, we gain the opportunity to be a witness for Jesus. Those who are mean, ill-tempered, impatient, or self-centered, are usually undergoing their own personal battles. When we respond graciously with kindness, long-suffering, and love, we have the opportunity to minister. Third, we build perseverance and resilience. Fourth, we become an example for others to emulate. This may save them from prematurely bolting. Though the clouds are dark, weather the storm!
Don’t just assume when you face adversity that the right course of action is to run. Seek through prayer the Holy Spirit’s counsel. Listen to the advice of godly people. Hagar thought her actions were justified. She did not realize that God saw and understood her situation. He had blessings in store for her. “The Angel of the LORD also said to her, ‘I will greatly multiply your offspring, and they will be too many to count’” (16:10).
You will meet with unkindness and “two-facedness,” and if your motive is love for your fellow-men, you will be exhausted in the battle of life. But if the mainspring of your service is love for God, no ingratitude, no sin, no devil, no angel, can hinder you from serving your fellow-men, no matter how they treat you.—Oswald Chamber in Biblical Psychology
©2016 Daniel York ARR. Reveration is the weekly devotional ministry of First Cause. If you would like to receive these devotionals go to www.firstcause.org and click on the “Click here to receive weekly devotionals” box. Unlimited permission to copy this devotional without altering text or profiteering is allowed subject to inclusion of this copyright notice.
Ecclesiastes 12:10-The Teacher sought to find delightful sayings and to accurately write words of truth. (Holman CSB)