Devotional: ‘What to Do When You’ve Made a Mess’

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If you’re like me, there have been times in your life when you’ve made a mess. Either you did something you shouldn’t have done, or you didn’t do something that you should have done. Either way – you made a mess. Abram made a mess in his family. He agreed with his wife Sarai to father a child through her servant named Hagar. But once the child was born, Sarai became upset and blamed Abram for their problems.

“Then Sarai said to Abram, “This is all your fault! I put my servant into your arms, but now that she’s pregnant she treats me with contempt. The Lord will show who’s wrong—you or me!” 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. (Genesis 16:1-6)

Though it was not God’s will for Abram to father a child by Hagar, nevertheless, a child was born and needed to be cared for. What should Abram and Sarai do? Scripture says that they forced Hagar to leave. No doubt they thought that once Hagar was gone, all their problems would be over. Yet God doesn’t let us push our mess to the side and not deal with it. Often God forces us to face our mess as He helps us to resolve it.

The angel of the LORD found Hagar beside a spring of water in the wilderness, along the road to Shur. The angel said to her, “Hagar, Sarai’s servant, where have you come from, and where are you going?” “I’m running away from my mistress, Sarai,” she replied. The angel of the LORD said to her, “Return to your mistress, and submit to her authority.” Then he added, “I will give you more descendants than you can count.” And the angel also said, “You are now pregnant and will give birth to a son. You are to name him Ishmael (which means ‘God hears’), for the LORD has heard your cry of distress. This son of yours will be a wild man, as untamed as a wild donkey! He will raise his fist against everyone, and everyone will be against him. Yes, he will live in open hostility against all his relatives.” Thereafter, Hagar used another name to refer to the LORD, who had spoken to her. She said, “You are the God who sees me.” (Genesis 16:7-13)

God graciously reached out to Hagar and told her that she would have a son and that she should name the boy ‘Ishmael’ (which means ‘God hears). In response, Hagar gave God the name ‘El Roi’ (which means – the God who sees me). What a blessing it is to know that even in the midst of our mess, God still sees and hears us.

Hagar did return to Abram’s camp and for the next several years, both she, Abram and Sarai had to work their way through their mess. Was it easy? I am sure that at times it was very difficult. However, this was God’s will for them and by His grace, He helped them.

Are you in a mess? Perhaps it is a mess you have created, or perhaps it is a mess that has been forced upon you. Either way, the Lord still loves you and He desires to help you. Don’t run from your mess. Stand up and face it. Submit yourself to the Lord and ask Him to help you. And when God tells you do to something – do it.

God bless you my brethren.

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