Weird is the New Normal: Day Six

Weird is the New Normal:  A Lenten Walk Through 40 Questions in Genesis
Weird – “of strange or extraordinary character.”
Normal – “conforming to a type, standard, or regular pattern”
Merriam Webster
Day Six – “Hagar! Sarai’s servant! Where did you come from and where are you going?” – The Lord’s Messenger (Gen. 16: 7)
Tammy Wynette famously sang, “Sometimes it’s hard to be a woman.”  And the women reading this today are thinking, “Yep.  How about ALL the time?!”  But I sometimes think about how hard it was to be a woman in ancient times.
Was it hard for Sarai?  Yes. It was hard for ANY woman in such a patriarchal society, even the tribal princess (which is essentially what Sarai was). Her main job was to bear a male heir for her husband, Abram.  But she was childless.  You might think, “Big deal. So, she couldn’t have children. That means that she and Abram could take nicer vacations, right?” Maybe in our day. But in Sarai’s day, being unable to have children was a terrible stigma. She would be seen by her peers as a failure. She would carry the weight of shame. God had promised her husband, Abram, that he would become a great nation. How much longer could she wait?  She wasn’t getting any younger, and neither was hubby.  Enter Hagar…
If life was difficult for Sarai, think how hard it must have been for Hagar! She was a slave, which means she was considered “property”…property to be bought or sold or even used as a surrogate to bear children for the tribal princess.  It sounds totally weird to us – but remember weird is the new normal.  It was not uncommon in that day for a woman to give her servant to her husband as a surrogate, and the child that would be born from that union would be considered to be a child of the “main” wife (in this case, Sarai).
I always felt sorry for Hagar. I wondered, “Did they even ask her about this?” No. Remember, she was property. When Sarai became impatient with God, she told Abram to go sleep with Hagar, so she could maybe give him an heir through her.  Abram did so, and Hagar got pregnant. And as soon as she realized that she was pregnant, Hagar’s whole attitude changed.  “She began to despise her mistress.” (Gen. 16: 4) Why despise her? Take your pick: For being pimped out to a 75 year-old-man?  Because now she had something that Sarai didn’t have?
Sarai treated Hagar so harshly, that Hagar ran off into the wilderness. Enter the Lord’s Messenger… “Hagar, where did you come from and where are you going?”  Hagar knew the first part of that question, but only God knew the second.  Hagar would be asked to face her problems today, with the promise God would take care of her future.
Reflection: Where have you come from?  Where are you going? Will you trust your future into God’s hand?
Action:  Take time to reflect on the last year.  Say a prayer for your future.
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