There are times when we’ve made decisions that put us on the wrong path or had us associating with the wrong crowd. We dip and dab in what is only pleasing for the moment. Then we hit rock bottom and know for sure that a better life is awaiting us.
So, we pull up our britches and get to work. We work on our spiritual, mental, and physical bodies. We make so much progress, we do what is right. However, the crowd that we had in our past life seemed to “be there” when we needed them, and now it seems that doing what’s right leads us on a path of solitude – at least for a little while.
We’re looking to the left and right for a seal of approval from those around us – those people who left us behind a long time ago.
When we don’t see the results and the support we think we should see in our lives, we tend to look back and seek solace in the familiar, yet unpleasant and unhealthy things in life, but what we need to realize today is that the only seal of approval we need is from God.
When we’re following the path that God has laid out for us, it is our duty to walk in obedience and let God unfold our desires in the timing that He sees fit. Looking back will only hold us back and keep us stuck in the place that we so quickly ran from.
Hagar is a woman in the Bible that was looking for a seal of approval. She had become so wrapped-up in being a part of a competition that she never asked to be a part of. Hagar bore a son with Abram after his wife Sarai encouraged him to impregnate her. While Hagar began to despise Sarai, Sarai began to despise God, Abram, Hagar and Hagar’s baby boy.
On the other hand, Hagar probably felt slighted by Abram. I mean, she was the woman that gave him the very son he wanted, but Abram’s love was always with Sarai and his son. In looking for a seal of approval in all the wrong places and because Hagar couldn’t quite find her place at home, she decided to take her baby boy and run away.
God sees the hurting Hagar seated in the middle of the wilderness with a baby boy and nowhere to go. In her moment of despair and desperation, God hears her cries and sends her a message of hope. God tells Hagar that her troubles will not be forgotten and that her son will produce a nation of people whose numbers will be as great as the many grains of sand. And He tells her to go back to the place she left.
But the story doesn’t stop there. Hagar goes back to Sarai and Abram with the hope that her family has a future and is approved by God.
However, before Hagar returns home, Sarai too is feeling slighted. She feels slighted by God because she can’t physically bear children – at least that’s what she has told herself. She feels slighted by her husband because he had a son that she feels no connection to.
Just looking at Hagar and her son probably put Sarai in a rage. To make matters worse, the baby boy grew into a young man that despised Sarai, and Sarai knew it and couldn’t bear the pain of her husband’s child, a child that’s supposed to be her own, hating her.
In looking for a seal of approval in all the wrong places, Sarai in desperation sends Hagar and her son away in an effort to reclaim a position that she never lost.
In this moment, Hagar was prepared to die because she found herself back in the wilderness with no provision and no place to go.
But God in His greatness always has a plan.
God sends a reminder to both Hagar and Sarai. God reminds Hagar that her son will not die but produce a great nation, and he opens Hagar’s eyes so that she can see provision all around her. It was now time for change and Hagar and her son would set-up camp in a place away from Abram and Sarai. God reminds Sarai that she will indeed produce a child – yes at her old age, but first she and her husband needed to make some changes and this first change would be their name.
When God is ready to make a great move in our lives, He needs to see changes within us first. He must trust that we are ready for all that he has in store for us. God wants to know that He has control and that we will no longer try to make things happen in our timing.
Hagar needed that departure from Abram and Sarai so that God could do a work in her, and Abram and Sarai needed to “start over” so that they could walk in the obedience of God.
Walking in solitude is sometimes the first change that God implements because he needs us to hear his voice, and visualize what he is speaking, so that we can move into what he has for us. And often when He allows the flood gate of love, support, and new relationships to thrive in our lives, it’s with people that we never knew we would have contact with. It’s with people that are living life at a level that we’ve never imagined we could live as well.
Look to God for your seal of approval. He will propel you forward into all that you’ve ever desired.