Growing up in a dysfunctional household can have a detrimental impact on a person’s life. Ishmael’s story is the definition of dysfunction. He was an afterthought. He was only around because his mother’s master couldn’t have children. He was the back up plan. If Abram and Sarai were able to have children, we wouldn’t know Ishmael’s story. His mother, Hagar, was just being obedient; bearing a child for a barren couple. Little did she know that this would cause Sarai to resent her and regret that Ishmael was ever born. Once Sarai was able to have a child, she had no use for this young boy. Ultimately, Hagar and Ishmael were ostracized and sent into exile. But God heard…
Ishmael’s name means God hears. But his life up until this point was anything but God hearing. He was always considered “that slave woman’s child”. His own father sent him into a wilderness with just bread and water. He sat nearby as his mother wept uncontrollably over their impending death. His life was nearly ended before God heard. He was in a dry place before God heard. He was severely malnourished before God heard.
He had one thing to stand on. His name.
I don’t care what’s been going on in your life over the past week/month/year…God hears! You can stand on your name because your ultimate identity is in Christ. You have been adopted into the family of God. You are a joint heir with Jesus. It might be dry right now. You might feel like somebody’s backup plan. You may feel malnourished but…God hears!
“And God heard the voice of the lad…” (Genesis 21:17)