Sometimes I wonder if they’ll ever see —
If I’ll ever see.
I’d slept with my contact lenses in, and oozed with the pain of bad conjunctivitis the next three consecutive weeks —
…and so they gathered around my kitchen island, and I asked them to sit while I stood.
The ulcer was blinding me from seeing, my eyes red and swollen.
And then there’s this mounting inability to really see — to really understand how to see out of my own past ruins, out of the rubbles of my own fractures, and to know if there’s anybody out there that will really understand, that’ll get some of the pains of what one may be going through…
I opened the book of Genesis — the beginning of all beginnings.
Could this too be the beginning of all things new? The beginning for a complete wholeness where there’s been deep brokenness?
Sometimes I’m afraid that nothing’s happening in the hiddenness; that nothing’s cooking at the back of the desert, that there’s no rain falling, and no business blooming, and you’re just hidden somewhere and forgotten somehow.
That the world will whirl on but you’ll wilt away.
That sometimes when it gets really dark, I’m desperate to hold on to some bright, some light to see me through — to let me see through…
Perhaps it’s a drastic baptism of seeing that I need, because I so oft fail to see what He truly sees.
So we read Hagar, an Egyptian slave woman whose name means ‘stranger’, praying that she’ll read us back.
The story began long after the promise had been given and seemingly forgotten. (The way humans understand the length of time and the lapse of mortal promises anyway). Long after God’s offer of an offspring as numerous as the stars in the sky and the sand on the shore seemed more like a huge improbability that’s past all possibilities —
but is anything ever an impossibility for the God of all possibilities?
Hagar — was what her mistress and master made to make their own dreams happen.
She was the go-to after every other means of faith had ended. After every human had run out of their resources, and every leader their strategies.
This slave who became the surrogate, the womb to birth another’s life and serve another’s vision, she became the abode to the great man Abe where he’d come in, stay warm and go out.
This woman concubine: who’s laid it all out, and given it her all, in the hope that she’d somehow come back alive at the resurgence of new hope and a better life, she became one despised and chastened.
“Hagar was the woman who once had it all, but then lost it all,“, my voice quaked.
I don’t know if they could see it — if these kids could tell that their Mama’s feeling like a loser right now, that it feels like I keep losing my plot in life, and that I know not how to gather from my own losses and rebound in life when the brokenness now seems to form a part of me?
My friend, the Opthamologist had scrawled it clear in his diagnosis – “contact lens-related keratitis in the right eye. She still has her right vision, …infiltration in the inferior portion of the right cornea with ulcer remains in the presence of an epithelial defect now on the overlying infiltrate.”
I couldn’t see past my ulcer with pain oozing deep.
I sliced the pizza thin, and distributed it.
Ham, cheese, and pineapple — just the way they like it.
My boy, he’d looked up, wide-eyed and asked unashamed, “Mum, Can I just eat the whole piece rather than slices of it?”.
I couldn’t help but nod and smile.
Maybe we can still see even when we’re stained, and be whole even when we are fragmented.
It’s when life gets broken, and we struggle with what’s been shattered, that we need a well to get us past our dryness into our true wellness.
I read the verse to them,
“And God heard the voice of the boy, and the angel of God called to Hagar from heaven and said to her, “What troubles you, Hagar? Fear not…, for God has heard the voice of the boy where he is.” (Genesis 21:17)
…only to hear the first rousing of complaints.
“Mum, he hits me!”, the littlest one yelled, a dam of tears leaking.
“No Mum, she tangled her leg over my chair!”, the boy defended himself, both breaking the last strand of our morning peace.
You can try to solve sibling disunity but who’d defend you when the weight of the whole world is against you?
I can’t face the world, the issue or the family when I’m unable to see my own rescue —
yet His Word is a light to the blind, a lifeline to the battered and bruised.
I took cherries to the table. Tried the distraction method instead.
Sometimes desperate cries can lead to great discoveries — “Let me see, Lord, not just a mirage but a miracle.”
And continued reading:
“What’s wrong, Hagar? Fear not…is there anything too hard for the Lord?”(Genesis 18:14)
Joy is a mirage and we stumble into the wilderness where the wind’s brazen and the heart’s dry, dusty, dull.
Wilderness — that’s where you’ve been stripped away, but in this bareness, the desert may be a beautiful place to behold —
Because that’s where you’ll learn to thirst aright.
Thirst for what’s right, thirst for WHO’d truly rescue.
And God heard the lad crying — that the God of nations who attuned His ears to the cry of one single lad dying in the back of the desert somewhere, He too will hear our hearts’ pleas, our nations’ rumbles, and breaks the heaven and the hound of the desert to find us, and hold us.
It was at the height of Hagar’s desperation; the greatest point of her pain, that God opened up her eyes and showed her the well within a bowshot away.
“Then God opened her eyes, and she saw a well of water…” (Genesis 21:9)
There was the healing well already provided when we can’t even see past beyond our own painful world.
There is a well for you and me regardless of the desert we find ourselves in.
And gentle was His call — “Here’s the well, Hagar, and you’ll be well.”
He sees — into you and I, and sees to it and see us through it.
God sees, even when men don’t.
He sees, and gets it, and will get you — out of whatever entangles you.
He offers His well —- the only way we will be made truly well.
“Let him who walks in the dark, who has no light, trust in the name of the LORD and rely on his God.” Is. 50:10
He’s the Son of Man who was sickened, smitten, stricken and slain, so we don’t have to be bereaved, burdened, broken, battered, bruised.
Here He gives His promises, His presence, His protection, His preservation for our life.
So we need not let the hard desert years break us, but remake us.
The wilderness can be a refreshing space of silence for us.
We can be profoundly blissful even in the paralyzing blizzard.
And somewhere at the back of the desert, in a place dry and barren, where you think heaven’s brazen and the dusty air of death is howling; there’s a well — and you’ll be well.
He comes like a cooling rain in summer’s scorch and uses every minute of your hard to work for your good, and His glory.
And after the last swirling of the desert’s dust, you see from the distance — a woman rising out of her shadowland, carrying her lad, breaking up the fog, and breaking through and out of the wilderness.