On this warm winter morning I am sitting outside on my veranda with a cup-of-something-warm-and-wonderful (interpretation: coffee - hee hee) looking out onto our very green garden.
The Lord has sent us incredible rains over the last few weeks after an almost 2 year drought. Our dams are slowly starting to fill up again here in the Eastern Cape. This is the first time in my 34 years that I have lived through a drought with strict water restrictions. When the water restrictions were first issued we all wondered how we would adjust. It meant no filling the pools through Summer, sharing water at bath times or showering super quick with low water pressures, spacing out your washing days as not to waste lots of water etc. We all started finding ways to teach our children how to be water conscious. We put up water tanks to catch any falling rain that came our way so we could water the garden etc. It's amazing how quickly you adjust and also become thankful for the luxuries that you might have once taken for granted.
Pondering all this, I am so mindful that when we go through "drought" seasons in our life, God is often closer to us than we even realise! It is in these dry, barren places that He has so much to impart to us. If we would just look and listen, we will see Him teaching us incredible life lessons in the most unusual places.
Consider Hagar's story. You can read it in the Bible in Genesis 16:1-16. Hagar was Sarai's maid servant. After many years of Sarai trying to fall pregnant and waiting on a promise that God had given to her husband Abram that they would have a son, she became desperate and tired of waiting. She reasoned that maybe God needed her help seeing as He was taking too long, so she took matters into her own hands (funny how us women have always battled with control issues hey - even all the way back then!). In her desperation she approaches her husband and offers her maid servant to him as his second wife that maybe through her they could bear a son. Abram agrees (what was the man thinking!!!) and Hagar falls pregnant. Sarai got what she thought she wanted .... but because it was of her own doing and not what God had promised her, it never brought the joy that she had hoped it would. Hagar began to despise and look down on Sarai, her master. So she goes to Abram angry and broken and tells him that Hagar had turned on her and that God would judge between him and her. Abram, who adored his first wife tells her to do as she wills with Hagar and so Sarai unleashes her anger on Hagar who then fled into the wilderness after being mistreated by Sarai. Hagar was now pregnant and felt completely hopeless about her situation so she does what a hormonal and irrational pregnant woman might do - she ran away into the wilderness to somehow try to make a new life for herself. A wilderness though? This is clearly the act of a desperate and broken woman. Verse 7-8 says "But the Angel of the Lord found her by a spring of water in the wilderness on the road to Shur. And He said, Hagar, Sarai's maid, where did you come from, and where are you intending to go? And she said, I am running away from my mistress." Here's what touches my heart. God chooses to meet with her in the most barren place of all - her wilderness. He talks to her about what had led her to the wilderness and then asks her where she hopes to go. He talks to her ... the Living God talks to her! She talks back and bares her heart - no hiding. She says it for what it is. In this place He begins to give her hope and perspective. He tells her about the son she is carrying and tells her about his destiny. He also tells her to go back to Sarai - that He will deal with the heart issues and cause provision for her and her son. In this place of barrenness and despair HE GIVES HER HOPE AND PURPOSE! It is in the driest, hardest, most alone place in her life that she encounters the Living God. Verse 13-14 says "So she called the name of the Lord who spoke to her, You are a God of seeing, for she said, Have I (not) even here (in the wilderness) looked upon Him Who sees me (and lived)? Or have I here also seen (the future purposes or designs of) Him who sees me? Therefore the well was called Beer-lahai-roi (a well to the Living One Who sees me)."
Through Hagar's encounter with God we see that we have an Almighty God who sees us and desires to meet with us. If you are feeling like you are in a wilderness experience ... call on the Living One Who Sees you! Just as He saw Hagar sitting in the wilderness, so He sees you and me today and wants to give us all the love, acceptance, hope and perspective that we need. Just speak to Him.
All my love xxx