"Where did you come from ... and where are you going?"
In the 16th chapter of Genesis, we find the first mention of the Egyptian slave of Abram and Sarai, Hagar--a woman about to meet her destiny. A woman about to change the history of mankind, past and future.
Sarai could not have children and, biologically, she believed time had run out. Abram was old, but still able to father a child ... and fathering children was something God had promised him. "Look up at the sky and count the stars--if indeed you can count them," God told Abram. "So shall your offspring be."
Abram believed. Sarai had her doubts.
But she was not without resources. Ancient customs allowed for such things as handmaids giving birth for barren wives of virile husbands. "Check out my slave Hagar," she told her husband.
And he agreed. He "checked her out."
When Hagar found herself pregnant, the Scriptures tell us, she began to "despise her mistress." When I read the verses that follow--Sarai running to Abram to complain--I get the sense that, at one time, the two women got along okay. Perhaps they were friendly. Knitted together. Baked bread over the same fire pit. Not so much now ...
Complain as hard as she may, Abram was having nothing to do with Sarai's delimma. "You deal with it," he told her.
And so Sarai began to mistreat Hagar. What a sad turn of events for all concerned.
Hagar fled (as would any woman in her position). Seemingly, running back to Egypt, because when the angel of the Lord found her, she was near a spring in the desert, one found specifically beside the road to Shur. According to Easton's Bible Dictionary, Shur is "a part, probably, of the Arabian desert, on the north-eastern border of Egypt."
In other words, she was heading back home. Back to the beginning of her story. But would she have been any safer there? And would God's story play out as it should if she made it back?
And so the angel of the Lord found her by the water. "Where did you come from?" he asked her. "And where are you going?"
As I continue to explore my life in questions, I ask myself the same questions. Before I can clearly answer the second, however, I must answer the first. Where did I come from?
This isn't just a question of geography, because if it were, the answer would come too easy. "I am from Sylvania, Georgia." Bam. Done.
But, no. The question goes deeper. It goes deeper for me ... and it goes deeper for you. Where do you come from?
This is a question of family life. This is a question of era born and reared. This is a question of location, yes, but not solely. This is a question of your hopes and dreams and what you may have done to accomplish them ... or what stood in the way.
So, here's your question of the week. I'd love for you to comment after you answer quietly ... in your journal or in your heart. Don't feel you have to share your answer, but--if you'd like--share what it revealed to you about yourself.