Be Still Know
Genesis 16:4b NLT
‘But when Hagar knew she was pregnant, she began to treat her mistress, Sarai, with contempt.’
My daughter is in the entertainment industry, where you need a thick skin to survive. You discover more about yourself as folk are very direct when ending auditions. One management group, now no longer in business, described her as exhibiting “an entitlement mentality”. Now, she’s hard-working and established herself by working from the bottom up, so I think this was more her self-confidence, yet I’m her dada so I would say that! However, I did resonate with the remark and reflected how I had something of an entitlement mentality.
While being fairly hopeless throughout school, I flourished in my last two years. I was successful and therefore promoted by my school. Confident and cutting with my comments, I fell in love with myself. I don’t think I ever paused to reflect upon the quality of my character as I relied upon my talents to take me onwards. Hagar, now pregnant, used the smug sense of achievement to bully Sarai. While Sarai’s decision was bad, the first fruit was to open the wound she carried wider and pour salt into it.
In my early Christian ministry, when I experienced very little difficulty, I preached unrelenting victory reports with no real pastoral sensitivity. I believed everyone ought to journey through life sucking up their pain while celebrating the infinite love of God. There’s a measure of truth buried somewhere in that statement, a truth I lost sight of once pain invaded my life. Katey and I felt diminished. Our response, like Sarai’s, was to grow bitter and harsh. We wanted to hit out at everything, including God.
Yet I believe this was God’s purpose. God in the grime and dirt of lives that appeared to have everything of value taken from them; lives that could in an instant be transformed by God’s spirit. Lives that we felt we’d never signed up for and left us gasping for breath as the immensity of physical, emotional and mental anguish overwhelmed us. God, it seems, is in the very worst aspects of life on earth where trust is quickly put to flight.
QUESTION: Do you think that God owes you a good life?
PRAYER: Lord, whatever happens in life, thank you that you are faithful and present.