Unhealthy Relationships in Ministry (Part 6): Locate yourself

Where Did You Come From?

This is the question we have to ask.  It’s the same question that the Lord asked Hagar after she fled from Sarah.

“Where did you come from, and where are you going?”

Hagar didn’t have a clue where she was going.  That’s how many of us are.  We are far more needs-dominated than purpose-motivated.  We just know what we’re running from; we have no idea where we’re going.  It’s a powerful question that brings us to the sobering reality of what is really going on.  What brought you here?  What is driving you?  Why are you so frustrated?  Why are you built up to this place of anger?  Resentment?  Where did you come from?  What’s back there brewing?  What’s down in there under your saddle?  What bug is in your blanket?    Why are you in so much debt?  Why did your marriage(s) really fail?  What’s going on in your life?  Why are you so empty and lonely?  Why are you so mad?  Why are the best people leaving your church or business?  Why are you never able to submit to someone else’s authority?

Again:  Where have you come from? 

Perhaps you’ve had an agenda driving you along, but it wasn’t God’s agenda of love and purpose?  It wasn’t an agenda that realized that the only thing that can meet your deepest need is God Himself in the Lord Jesus Christ.  Perhaps like most people you’ve missed that.  We’ve missed that, and so we’ve pursued all these other things.  We’ve come from a life of pursuing lesser agendas and lesser visions than a personal love relationship with our heavenly Father, lived-out moment by moment in His wonderful grace!  We’ve looked for love in all the wrong places.  That’s where we’ve come from.  We’ve got to deal honestly with the past.  We’ve got to acknowledge the sin.  We’ve got to acknowledge that we’ve been existing on blaming others.  We’ve been getting by blaming others…perhaps for years.

Next he asked Hagar:  Where Are You Going?

Hagar didn’t know it at first, but it was not just an angel who appeared to her in the desert.  It was the Lord.  It was the last place where she would have expected to find Him!  Where was the Lord?  He was there reaching out to her in the midst of her pain!  She didn’t know where she was going.  She was running from the past.  Some of us are just running.  We might have a bit of a vision, an idea of what we want to happen in our lives, but we’re running.

But you know, out there in the middle of the desert, an angel visited Hagar.  Now here’s the thing.  Even her mistress Sarah had not really personally experienced the love of God.  But here’s an Egyptian, idolater, slave girl, who’s about to experience the love of God.  Who is she?  She’s a nobody.  That’s who she is.  She’s a slave.  And who is this who appears to her but the Lord of Glory?  The Lord Himself comes down, manifests Himself in a way so that she could see Him with her physical eyes.

He ministered to her in her deepest pain and longings.  She tells Him that, “I’m running from my master.  She is treating me harshly.”  He tells her, “Go back to your master and submit to her.”  One should realize that Hagar would almost rather commit suicide than do that!  But, something happened.  She had an encounter with the Holy One, with the Lord of Life.  All of the sudden, the difference was made up, the emptiness was filled up, and the vision was given.  And so, she’s given one of the names of God: El-Roi, which means “the God who sees me.”

And though nothing in her difficult circumstance had outwardly changed – EVERYTHING WAS SUDDENLY DIFFERENT!

She was no longer running from stuff.  She was on mission.  She was “sent” by God.

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