How to thrive when life gets scary

How to Thrive When Life is scary.jpeg

Girl, let’s be honest.  If you are remotely following current events, life is a little scary right now.

Even if you aren’t following current events, the fact that schools may not allow students to return for in-person instruction and many of us may end up homeschooling this fall is scary in its own right.

Life can feel scary – when don’t feel like we have any control.   When we wake up and wonder – which shoe will drop today? There’s a story of a woman in the Bible named Hagar in Genesis 16. She served a very wealthy family and was very mistreated for a season.

In fact, the family she served didn’t even mention her by name, they just referred to her as “servant”, “slave woman” or “Egyptian servant” when they discussed her role and future between themselves.

At the end of her rope, Hagar flees her masters and runs away into the desert.

She has no plan – she’s broken – hopeless and just running.

It’s usually at the end of ourselves that we start to find God.

The angel of the Lord – which many theologians believe is God himself – meets Hagar in the middle of nowhere and speaks to her and asks, “Hagar, slave of Sarai, where have you come from, and where are you going?” (Genesis 16:8)

No here’s the thing – if God knew Hagar’s name – he knows the answers to these other questions too -- but Hagar needs to get to know God – and these questions reveal His character to her.

Read it the passages again, slowly:

  • “Hagar…” – The Lord himself knows her name and addresses her by it.  Not a slave woman, not Egyptian servant, not you there – but her name.  She is a person and precious to Him.
  • “…slave of Sarai..” – He knows what she does for a living.
  • “…where have you come from…”  - He knows her past.
  • “…where are you going?” -  He knows her future.

Hagar and God have an exchange that alters the course of human history, impacts middle eastern politics today, and changes her life.  I can’t dive into all of that tonight – but read it for yourself in Genesis 16, 17 and 18.

Here’s what we can all learn from Hagar, control and confidence are wildly different things, one leads to fear the other peace depending on where you place that confidence.

When I try to control the things coming into my life – I get fearful.

When I shift from control to confidence in a God who is loving, all-powerful, eternal and wise –  who is ordering my steps and allows everything into my life from those four tenants – then things aren’t nearly as intimidating.  Are they hard! You bet they are.  Am I confident I will walk through it? You bet I am.

Does God always do things like I think he should – nope.  But he already addressed that when he told the prophet Isaiah – “My ways and not your ways and my thoughts are not your thoughts.”  Here’s something I learned a long time ago, God is God and I am not.  Profound, huh?

When you find yourself in a hard place – an impossible place – like Hagar:

  • The job isn’t providing
  • The people you trusted betray
  • The future isn’t looking like you thought it would.

Wait before you take off running -- God sees you.

He knows your name, he knows what you do for a living, he knows your past, and he knows where you are going.

He will come to you, as he came to Hagar in love and with a future.

When you are convinced no one understands, it’s just not fair, it’s too hard to stay and you can’t leave, stop and remember Hagar.

As her conversation closes with the Lord, scripture records, “13 She gave this name to the Lord who spoke to her: “You are the God who sees me,” for she said, “I have now seen the One who sees me.”

Friend, God sees you today, like He saw Hagar so many years ago and He loves you just as much.  Rest.  In.  Him.


  1. Tammy Davis on July 17, 2020 at 2:21 pm

    Great story and reflection! Encouraging in these times! Thank you Jesus and Sarah

  2. Tammy Davis on July 17, 2020 at 2:23 pm

    Great story and I tried to comment in above block but I guess it’s blank for another reason that I’m not catching yet lol

    • sarahstephensadmin on July 20, 2020 at 2:02 pm

      Thanks Tammy!

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