Tears in the Void
I’m often surprised by the things that stand out when I’m reading the Bible. This time it was God’s message to Hagar – the second time he had spoken to her. The message was this: “Fear not, for God has heard the voice of the boy where he is” (Genesis 21:17). As far as Genesis tells us, neither Hagar nor Ishmael was crying out to God. They were simply crying. The situation seemed so desperate that Hagar even walked away from her son so she wouldn’t have to watch him suffer.
But God didn’t walk away.
Human suffering doesn’t deter Him. And sometimes, for reasons I’ve never quite been able to grasp, suffering is what moves Him to act. God was there and He heard the boy right where he was, in the middle of the desert, forsaken by his father and the only home he had ever known, alone but not alone. God didn’t bring him back to his old home, but to a new place, one where he would find success and lead a nation. And God would remain with him in that place.
Sometimes I feel like I am just crying out into the void, although I know that there cannot truly be any void, for God is everywhere. And I have friends who struggle, but don’t cry out to God, because they don’t believe He is or because think they need to get through things on their own. But God hears us, no matter who we are, no matter where we are. And in his time, perhaps when things become the most desperate and He can no longer hold Himself back, He will act. I know He has acted many times in the past and I believe that he isn’t finished and will again act on behalf of the people that He has made – even those who don’t believe or who don’t cry out to Him.