Abraham rose early in the morning and took bread . . . and gave it to Hagar . . . along with the child, and sent her away. (21:14)
“How come he doesn’t want me, man?” This question is uttered at the end of a heart-wrenching episode in a ’90s hit TV series. A teenage son reunites with his father after being estranged for 14 years. Despite his guardian’s concerns, the son packs up his belongings to travel with his father. The father tries to sneak out undetected but fails. He is then forced to face his son with the truth that he is not taking him on the road, and he leaves him once again.
The birth of Abraham’s oldest son, Ishmael, causes a power struggle at home. It was at first a blessing, but now that Abraham’s wife Sarah has given birth to Isaac, she is annoyed by Ishmael’s presence. She believes he threatens Isaac’s inheritance, so she has Abraham kick Ishmael out. Yet, even though Ishmael is rejected and abandoned by his family, God doesn’t abandon him. He sees and hears Ishmael, and promises to always be with him.
When we aren’t loved and accepted by those people who are meant to care for us most deeply, we can feel vulnerable and unsure of ourselves. But God knows who we are. He sees and hears us. He knew us in our mother’s womb (Ps. 139:1-16). He knows every hair on our head (Luke 12:7). His sacrifice on the cross was a clear indication of how much he wanted us (John 3:16). We are complete in him. —Ericka Loynes
As you pray, thank God he didn’t abandon you, but instead adopted you into his family.