found…

Have you seen the movie “August Rush”? Take a look at the scene below. You can stop the video around 3:45 minutes if you like, or go ahead and watch the whole thing. (I couldn’t find the exact scene I needed, so I had to post this whole, long one.)

Here is a reminder of the conversation between Wizard and Evan when they are sitting on the park benches:

Wizard: What do you want to be in the world? I mean the whole world. What do you want to be? Close your eyes and think about that.
August Rush: (Pause) Found.

That line gets me every time. Obviously, it is compelling because the little boy doesn’t have a legitimate parent to take care of him and he wants to have a home. But it goes further than that for me, when I hear it. I think it gets to me because ultimately that is the cry of every human soul, MY soul: to be FOUND.

This reminds me of a story from Genesis 16, about a woman named Hagar. She was Sarai’s mistress or servant. Since Sarai was unable to conceive, she gave Hagar as wife, to her husband, Abram, in order that he could have a child by her. Hagar did in fact conceive a child, but at this news, Sarai treated her very harshly. Hagar, whose name coincidentally means “flight” in the Hebrew, fled from Sarai to the wilderness.

Before we go any further, I need you to connect with Hagar’s situation, as much as possible. She has a husband who did not marry her for love, but rather she was a piece of property to be used to get what they wanted/needed. The beloved first wife now hates her. Her husband does absolutely nothing to help or protect her, in fact, hands her over to the will of Sarai. She is having this man’s baby and nobody is throwing her a baby shower, no–instead, quite the opposite–she is being harshly mistreated. I want to be sure that you don’t miss the intensity of Sarai’s treatment of Hagar. The word in the Hebrew is anah meaning “to be afflicted, oppressed, humiliated; be downcast.” It is the same word that the prophet Isaiah used to prophesy regarding Christ’s death on the cross for our sins (53:4). So it would not be a stretch to say that Hagar feared for her life AND that of her unborn child, which of course is why she would have gotten out of there as quickly as possible! She is now out in the wilderness with, most likely, nothing. (I doubt she stopped to pack an overnight bag.) She cannot go back to her home, family, job, everything. She is now contemplating her future as a homeless, pennyless, unemployed, abandoned, single mother. And here’s the kicker: She didn’t ask for ANY of it! The woman who now despises her is the one who orchestrated the whole thing! Talk about confusion, hurt, anger, and despair.

It is at this point in the narrative that it becomes one of my favorite Old Testament stories.

7 The angel of the LORD found her by a spring of water in the wilderness, the spring on the way to Shur.

The God of All Creation found her. Let that sink in. There is debate among theologians about who the “angel of the LORD” is. Some believe it is the preincarnate Christ appearing to people before his birth as a man. While others say that it is a messenger from Yahweh. I personally believe it is Jesus, but you are welcome to your opinion. The point still remains even if it was a messenger from God–He found her. In the midst of her torn clothing, bruised and bloodied body, matted hair, tear-soaked face, exhausted legs, broken heart, unknown future, God, praise His holy Name, found her.

8 And he said, “Hagar, servant of Sarai, where have you come from and where are you going?” She said, “I am fleeing from my mistress Sarai.”

Please don’t misunderstand this to mean that God did not know the past nor the future. God knows all. He knew Hagar’s whole life, from beginning to end, but He still asked–because He is more interested in relationship. He asks us, “Why are you hurting so badly?” or “What happened to your heart?” because He wants us to tell Him our story, as we would a friend. He cares.

9 The angel of the LORD said to her, “Return to your mistress and submit to her.”

UM, WHAT?! Don’t you think Hagar may have raised her eyebrows at that, to say the least?? Sometimes when we share our hearts with God, He asks us to do things that seem unthinkable to us, things that could seemingly cause more heartache. Forgive her. Break up with him. Leave that job. Seek restoration. Keep sharing Christ with that person who is rejecting you. That is when faith, trust, and obedience have to reign supreme in our relationship with Jesus. What is it that you know God has spoken to your heart and you are not obeying Him? Ask for forgiveness, then do it, whatever it is.

10 The angel of the LORD also said to her, “I will surely multiply your offspring so that they cannot be numbered for multitude.” 11 And the angel of the LORD said to her, “Behold, you are pregnant and shall bear a son. You shall call his name Ishmael, because the LORD has listened to your affliction. 12 He shall be a wild donkey of a man, his hand against everyone and everyone’s hand against him, and he shall dwell over against all his kinsmen.” 13 So she called the name of the LORD who spoke to her, “You are a God of seeing,” for she said, “Truly here I have seen him who looks after me.”

I said earlier that this is one of my favorite Old Testament stories. That is because it is the only occurrence of my all-time favorite name for God: El Roi (“roo-ee”), the God who sees. She isn’t going back to Sarai and Abram alone. She isn’t going unprotected. She isn’t going unsupported. She isn’t going as someone’s rejected slave girl. She is going as a woman whom El Roi had been watching. She is going as the one whom Yahweh found. She is forever changed.

Do you remember what it felt like when you realized that the God of the Universe had been seeking you? If you have forgotten, please take some time and ask the Holy Spirit to remind you of the value that Jesus bestowed on you when He found you. Be reminded also that it was not a one-time deal. He loves you and El Roi continues to watch and see.

If you haven’t had an encounter with the Living God as Hagar did, please stop running. He will find you in your wilderness. He’s watching. He knows. He loves. He sees. Be found. I promise you, like August Rush, it is the one thing you want most in the whole world…be found.

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