"And I, if I be lifted up"

When, as recorded in the twenty-first chapter of Genesis, Hagar, the bondwoman, stepped forth, her child on her shoulder, into the wilderness, all that she took with her was some bread and a bottle of water.

She did not carry in her heart God's assurance, with which He had comforted Abraham, that all would be well. Her position, hitherto established on a basis of mortal values, had in one moment been swept away. Bereft of another's protection and understanding, which she had never made her own, what wonder that she found herself utterly unequipped to face and master the problem which confronted her? Only a conscious sense of divine Love's omnipresence, which led Jesus up of the spirit into the wilderness, is able to overcome the temptations of such an experience with Truth's supremacy.

Thus it was that Hagar wandered with the child in a wilderness of personal responsibility and increasing fear, until the water in her bottle was spent. A little while before, how confident she had been in her pride of motherhood, its successful rivalry, its joy of ownership; and now, in the place of them, there was nothing but misery and destitution! Her child, dependent solely upon her, it seemed, for its nourishment, its protection, its very life, found her helpless to save it. Casting it from her that she might be spared the further torture of seeing the child die, she drew away and abandoned herself to despair.

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Reflecting God
October 17, 1936

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