2 minutes reading time (475 words)

Hagar and Ishmael in Huntsville (Genesis 21)


 Hagar and Ishmael in Huntsville

14 Early the next morning Abraham took some food and a skin of water and gave them to Hagar. He set them on her shoulders and then sent her off with the boy (Ishmael). She went on her way and wandered in the Desert of Beersheba. When the water in the skin was gone, she put the boy under one of the bushes. 16 Then she went off and sat down about a bowshot away, for she thought, "I cannot watch the boy die." And as she sat there, she began to sob. -Genesis 21

The birth of Isaac was an important fulfillment of God's promise to Abraham and a joyful occasion. Sarah said, "God has brought me laughter." But while they were feasting and celebrating, Sarah demanded the expulsion of Hagar and Ishmael. Abraham was distressed, reluctant to send Hagar and his son into an unknown future. God, however, reassured him that the woman and child would be protected, so he sent them on their way with a few supplies.

Does it sometimes seem to you that life is a tapestry of good things intermingled with difficulties and losses? It must have felt that way to Abraham as we watched Hagar and his son, Ishmael, disappear into an unknown future. I hope he was comforted by knowing that God takes care of the marginalized. 

Every November, the Twickenham church hosts an event called Second Harvest. We provide a full Thanksgiving meal to people in Huntsville who might not otherwise be able to afford it. It is always a blessing to those receiving the food and to those involved in making it happen. Some of the baskets this past year went to people served by Martha Lesperance and her ministries in West Huntsville. Here are some comments from the people that you helped:

"Jessica wept when we gave her the turkey and bags of food… Last year all they could afford were TV dinners. She called to say how incredible it was that they would have many dishes to eat this year and it seemed miraculous. This one meal brought Jessica to our church, the first time she had ever been in a church…she wants to join our church because she has never felt so much love before."

"Emmitt, one of our success stories, has been homeless for a long time. He recently moved into his first apartment with a new government veteran's program. We dropped off his ham and he called later to say that he couldn't wait until Thanksgiving and he had eaten the ham early. He had Thanksgiving in his own home. Thank you for making that possible."

As we continue into this new year, let's remember that there are Hagars and Ishmaels all around us. God sees and cares for the marginalized. So should we.
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Wednesday, 19 January 2022

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