“The angel of the Lord said to her, “Return to your mistress, and submit to her.” – Genesis 16:9
Hagar is in such a miserable situation that she finds living alone in the desert preferable to the abuse she was taking from her mistress Sarai. I’m going to tread very carefully here. I, in no way, shape, or form, recommend that anyone return to an abusive situation once they have escaped from that hell. We must remember the cultural differences between us and those of ancient scripture. It was proper to punish a servant who was disrespectful to her mistress in those days. So let’s change the perspective a big bit here.
Admit there are some situations from which we cannot escape. We cannot hide in the wilderness from disease or a family fight or a Congress that agrees to harm the earth further by allowing a foreign country lay pipeline across our nation. Sometimes we have to return to face the problem and deal with it best we can.
God promises Hagar great things if she returns to her family. The culture has changed since this story was written but God’s promises remain true today. God is with us no matter the situation. And we will grow in faith and trust when we go back and seek, with God’s love wrapped around us, a healthy solution to the problems we tried to escape.
Holy One, give us strength to face the situation of the day, no matter how daunting it may seem to us now. We love you. We trust you. Hold our hand through this daunting thing as we face it down. So be it.
— Pastor Fay Ann Blaylock, Zion United Church of Christ and First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)