I find it hard to let go of relationships. Like losing a part of myself. Why is that? Possibly, for me, it goes back to my early years, having contracted polio, then being hospitalized miles from our new home in the suburbs never seeing my family at all until I was out of isolation. A counselor once told me that at the age of two I concluded that they were gone. Not coming back. Abandoned me. What would a 2 year old think?
I hold on to others. Sometimes far too long. I was reading in Genesis 21 about Abraham’s first child, Ishmael, who laughed with scorn and derision, at the newly-weaned boy Isaac, the promised son of Abraham and Sarah. Ishmael laughs, not in joy, but with hatred and jealousy. As the Bible says, Abraham, as hard as it will be, needs to say ‘good-bye’ to his first-born and also Hagar, the woman who was like a wife to him. To both of them. Can you imagine the pain in Abraham’s heart?
Both the son and his mother are destroying this household, trying to ruin what God has in plan for them. So, with God’s permission and Sarah’s demands, Abraham prepares food and water for Ishmael and Hagar as they are put out of the house, onto a journey whose destination and direction is unknown.
Genesis 21: 15-21 records a dialogue between the Lord and Hagar assuring her of God’s constant care and watchfulness over both of them. ‘And God was with the boy, and he grew up. He lived in the wilderness…’ (vs. 20-21). As hard as it is to say good-bye to someone we’ve loved and still do, but being together is not possible for now at least, we must know that the Lord will watch over them and be listening for our prayers.
Maybe things will change. But if not, then the Lord will still care for others long after we’re gone from this world. It’s hard. Sometimes it becomes necessary. A tough love. The Lord knows all about it. Look what He went through with His first two kids… and where they had to go.
Prayer: Lord, when we hurt we know we can nestle-up close to you, feeling your arms around us in love and compassion. In Jesus’ name. Amen.