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Rejection, Adoption and the Redemptive Power of Jesus

A Lent Reflection for Friday, February 23 by Kim Delp


Lectionary reading for 2/23/2024 Psalm 22:23-31; Genesis 16:1-6; Romans 4:1-12

Selected passage for reflection: Genesis 16: 1-6


Read

Genesis 16: 1-6 NASB

Now Sarai, Abram’s wife, had not borne him a child, but she had an Egyptian slave woman whose name was Hagar. So Sarai said to Abram, “See now, the Lord has prevented me from bearing children. Please have relations with my slave woman; perhaps I will [a]obtain children through her.” And Abram listened to the voice of Sarai. And so after Abram had lived ten years in the land of Canaan, Abram’s wife Sarai took Hagar the Egyptian, her slave woman, and gave her to her husband Abram as his wife. Then he had relations with Hagar, and she conceived; and when Hagar became aware that she had conceived, her mistress was insignificant in her sight. So Sarai said to Abram, “May the wrong done to me be upon you! I put my slave woman into your [b]arms, but when she saw that she had conceived, I was insignificant in her [c]sight. May the Lord judge between [d]you and me.” But Abram said to Sarai, “Look, your slave woman is in your [e]power; do to her what is good in your [f]sight.” So Sarai treated her harshly, and she fled from her presence.


Reflect

About 15 years ago, my husband and I had made a conscious decision to start trying to have children.  We were so excited to begin that next part of our journey.  The next journey was one of infertility.  I know many know this journey.  It is hard and painful in all the ways; physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually.  It can break you and make you feel broken.  So this passage is very relatable in so many ways for me personally.  I have felt the weight of not feeling fully identified as a woman because I couldn’t do what my body was created to do.  I have felt the urgency of wanting the process to speed up.  This can be agonizing as month after month you check the tests, and they are negative.  Praying before and over each one for THIS one to be the one that reads POSITIVE and then feeling the pain and even shame month after month when it is negative.  I believe Sarai felt all of these things and more.  During this time in history and, even now, so much of a woman’s worth is found in her womb.  Even though it was Sarai’s idea for Abram to take her slave in the hopes of building up through her the promise God had given to Abram.  I can’t imagine though that she did that willingly.  I just imagine the utter shame  rejection she must have felt as she gave Hagar to Abraham.  


Hagar on the other hand likely carried a different shame and rejection than Sarai.  Her name speaks to this, meaning, “flight” or “forsaken” in Hebrew.  She was a slave, a foreigner, living on the margins with her life in the balance and in the hands of Sarai.  I’m sure she had little control over what happened to her, least of which, being forced to bear Abraham a child as a surrogate.  Forced into fulfilling a promise that was not hers.


The rejection that both of these women must have felt was very different, but also the intersection where their paths crossed was similar; the womb.

Imagine Hagar sitting with her hands on her baby bump wishing this baby had been something within her control and Sarai sitting with her hands on her empty belly wishing that her barren womb was within her control.  Both sitting in their rejection and powerlessness in circumstances beyond their control.  


BUT GOD…


The story of Sarai and Hagar is bigger than this one excerpt.  It is the story of their adoption, not rejection.  In this small piece of their journey, we don’t see the whole picture, just as Hagar and Sarai didn’t.  They were throwing power back and forth when they had it and used the power they had, Sarai as a mistress and after conceiving, Hagar used the power in her womb with the “promised baby” to mistreat Sarai.


As 1 Peter tells us in 2:4-5 as well as Romans 8:15-17, we are chosen and adopted into His kingdom.  As with our story of infertility, it doesn’t look as we expect it to, but it looks like God always created it to be.  Parts of our journey aren’t the whole of our journey.  We see that God’s redemptive work in our lives and the lives of Sarai and Hagar do not look like they imagined.  But Jesus redeems it all.  In this season of Lent, as we journey to the Cross with Jesus, remember that our stories are stories of redemption, not perfection, but redemption.


Redemption, or apolutrosis in the Greek meaning the work of Christ on our behalf, whereby he purchases us, he ransoms us, at the price of his own life, securing our deliverance from the bondage and condemnation of sin. Jesus redeems us and our stories to speak and live into our adoption into His kingdom, not to stay in our places of rejection.


Respond

It is easy for all of us to remember or reflect back on a time we felt rejected.  Maybe you are in that place right now or maybe you will be in this place in the future. It is easy to stay in that place of rejection which leads to other things like depression and bitterness, I encourage you to speak this over  yourself in those moments:

I am known, seen, cared for, redeemed, forgiven and loved by Jesus.  I am a child of God and I receive the spirit of adoption.


If you like music, like I do, here are a couple of songs to focus your mind and heart on today.


Rest

Redemptive God, you have called us out of places of rejection, pain and sin to be chosen and adopted into a holy priesthood.  We are God’s prized possession and declare His praises being called out of darkness into his light.  May we live into this adopted life not timidly, but boldly experiencing and sharing this light with all those we encounter.  Amen.


About the Author



Kim Delp is a wife to Joel, mom to Simeon (13), Esther (9), and Ephraim (8) and serves in Ecuador, South America as a missionary. She is a Family Nurse Practitioner and the Co-Founder of the Santiago Partnership which partners in Ecuador to start medical clinics, Homes for At-Risk Children, different community-based programs with the goal of working herself out of a job. Her passion is empowering women to see their value and worth and to use their passions to experience both of these things. She has only realized recently that writing is something that shows her identity and worth in Jesus. She is a lover of coffee, experiencing nature and being with people in authentic ways. Learn more about the Santiago Partnership at https://www.santiagopartnership.org/


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1 commentaire


melanie myatt
melanie myatt
25 févr.

Sometimes I just get so tired of things not being "the way I expected"! Thank you for the reminder to continue to trust in God even if the waiting time seems long.

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