Does fear ever keep you from doing something? Do you ever panic at the thought of being among strangers? Do you lack that confident edge that you see in others? We have all had at least one of these feelings at some point in our lives—that first school dance, that job interview, that speech in front of your peers, or that party where you knew no one but had to be there. The story of Hagar illustrates how much confidence we can claim as followers of the Resurrected Christ!
She had no control over her circumstances. Hagar was the foreign, Egyptian slave girl in a home where she was misused by Abram and Sarai who chose to get ahead of God’s promise to them. Sarai’s plot to give Hagar to Abram to become a surrogate mother—while culturally appropriate—was not God’s Plan A. When Hagar got pregnant, she started looking down on Sarai and then Sarai harshly mistreated Hagar, causing Hagar to run away into the wilderness. And that’s when God chose Hagar—the pregnant, Egyptian slave girl—to be the first person to encounter the “angel of the LORD,” which many scholars believe to be an appearance of Jesus before he became human!
The angel started a conversation with her, calling her by name—the only one in the story who ever calls her by name. Then, God gave her a personal promise and a responsibility. Hagar responded with obedience.
That one empowering encounter with God gave Hagar the courage—the resilient confidence—to return to her owner. In response, Hagar gave God a name—the first person ever to do so in the Bible! The name she gave God means “The God Who Sees Me.” Hagar—the outsider, the foreigner, not even part of the Covenant People—experienced the personal attention of God—the Creator and Ruler of the Universe—regardless of her nationality, her gender, her social status, or even her religious beliefs. No matter who you are or where you are:
- God sees you
- God knows your name
- God hears you
- God has promises for you
- And God wants a personal encounter with you!
Since God was willing to make a special appearance to endow a young, pregnant, foreign slave girl with a personal promise and the courage to return to less than ideal circumstances, what do you think God is willing to do for someone who has already accepted the gift of salvation and wants to serve in Christ’s name? See Ephesians 1 for starters.
Tips to try
Today, that same kind of resilient confidence is available to you through an empowering encounter with the Resurrected Christ. Such confidence will help you withstand anything: anxiety at work, family/health crises, difficult relationships, tragic news, the temptations of incredible success, even death! The encounter you had with Christ that brought you salvation provided you access to a supernatural resilient confidence that only he offers. Living in that confidence depends on your conscious discipline of keeping your relationship with the Lord your primary pursuit.
If you are a ministry leader, shape your ministry into one that seeks out women who feel like outsiders. Show them how to have an empowering encounter with Christ through God’s word. By doing so, you’ll change the world!
You can read the whole story of Hagar in Genesis 16; 21:9-21; and 25:12-16.
Share Hagar’s story with others with a FREE one-page, reproducible Bible study found on the Resources page.
Join the conversation in the comment section below
Tell about an empowering encounter you’ve had with God and how it inspired you to complete a task or to be able to endure a difficult situation.
Provide some ideas for ways your ministry can make “outsiders” feel included in your ministry, your community, your church, your workplace, or your family.
What is an area where you think women lack resilient confidence today?