"Tender talk"

Sheryl Crow gets it, at least when it comes to loneliness. Many of her song lyrics express our longing for relationships and the questions that bubble to the surface when we live in isolation for too long. Does anybody want me? Does anybody need me? What will I do if the answer is "no"?

For Hagar, the answer was no, and she hit the road, leaving behind Sarai and Abram. The thing was, Hagar was carrying Abraham's child, but Sarai had "treated Hagar so harshly that she finally ran away" (Gen. 16:6).

The only one who came looking for Hagar was the angel of the Lord. The angel found her alone and in the desert. He struck up a conversation by asking, "Where have you come from, and where are you going?" (v.8). Although God already knew the answers, His messenger established a two-way connection with Hagar to ease the pain of her isolation.

As this tender talk unfolded, the angel reassured her that her solitude was temporary, and He gave her a revelation of God Himself, showing that He truly cared for her.

Hagar's aloneness mattered to God. The angel said, "The Lord has heard your cry of distress" (v.11). While the Bible doesn't record Hagar's desperate plea, it appears that God's healing dialogue started in the most heartbreaking and loneliest moment of her life.

Are you suffering from the ache of absentee friends or family? Remember that God hears your call of distress, and He's ready to talk openly and tenderly to you, to lead you out of your loneliness. After all, the One who soothed Hagar's soul is "the God who sees me . . . the Living One who sees me" (vv.13-14). , Jennifer Benson Schuldt, Our Daily Journey

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