Sharing Our Faith Together

In everything God works for good

by Rev Jacky Quarmby 18 February 2022

Reading:  Genesis 16: 1- 16

God had promised that Abram’s descendants would be as numerous as the grains of sand on a beach or stars in the sky.   But year followed year and still Sarai did not conceive.  Time was running out.  Had God forgotten his promise?  In desperation, Sarai took Abram to one side and said, “Abram, it’s no good. I am past child-bearing age.  Sleep with my maid-servant Hagar and the child she has, we will adopt as our own.”  Hagar, the Egyptian, was to become the surrogate mother for Abram and Sarai’s child. 

Well, Abram slept with Hagar and Hagar conceived. But oh dear, what problems it caused.  Hagar was walking round, full of her own self- importance, for she was carrying Abram’s child. And Abram, he was spending rather too much time with Hagar, and not being at all sensitive to his wife’s needs.  It was all going to end in tears and it did!  One day, mad with jealousy, Sarai flew into a terrible rage and Hagar fled from their home.  Alone and pregnant, Hagar headed out into the desert, not knowing where she was going or what would become of her and her unborn child.  And there she laid down and wept.

And there God heard her and sent one of his angels to watch over her.  “Go back”, said the angel, “And be kind to your mistress.  For you will have a son, and he will become the Father of a great nation and God will richly bless him”.  So Hagar returned and she had a son, who she called “Ishmael” which means “God hears”, because God had heard her in her time of need.   And Ishmael was blessed by God and he became the Father of the Arab nations.

It wasn’t God’s intention that Abram should use Hagar in the way he did.  Abram and Sarai were going to have a son of their own.  God had promised it.  But they could not wait for God’s time.  They doubted God’s promises and they went their own way and what problems it caused.   

But the amazing thing is the way God takes all this mess - all the hurt, the jealousy, the pride and turns the situation right around. The son of Hagar is not a problem to be swept under the carpet.  The son of Hagar is an opportunity for blessing.  

Because that is how God works.  We mess things up and we make mistakes, but God is always working to turn those mistakes around and to bring something good out of them.  In the New Testament, Paul writes, “We know that in everything God works for the good of those who love God and trust in him.”   

And I really believe that.  For people like Hagar, and people like you and I, God really can put a silver lining in every cloud.

Song:  Lord I come to you  (The Power of your Love)

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Loving God,
We thank you that you are always working to bring good things into our lives.
We thank you that no matter what mistakes we make
You are able to turn them around and make them into opportunities.
So today, we bring to you any worries and concerns that are on our minds
And pray that you will show us the way forward
So that only good things may come out of them.
For we ask this in Jesus’ name.