Editor’s note: Our next Online Bible Study, The God Who Sees by Kathie Lee Gifford and Joanne Moody, starts March 4th and you’re invited! We’re going to the Holy Land and studying some of our most beloved characters from the Bible — Ruth and Boaz, David, Mary Magdalene, and Hagar. We hope you join us! Sign up here.
Some years ago, I was staying at a friend’s home. My friend had arranged for a “write,” which is what those in the music industry call a songwriting session. On this day, I was scheduled to write with an amazing singer-songwriter named Nicole C. Mullen.
I was familiar with her Grammy-nominated song, “I Know My Redeemer Lives,” but I had never met her before.
As always, I prayed before our meeting that the Lord would lead us both and that we would be sensitive to what He wanted to accomplish in our lives and in our work. In Ephesians 3:20, Paul tells us that God will do “immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine.” Even though I have memorized that scripture and prayed on it for years, it always surprises me when — like in this collaboration with Nicole — He actually does it! (Oh, me of little faith!)
I came to the session with something that I had been contemplating for several weeks: the biblical narrative of Hagar, who has one of the most heart-wrenching stories in the Old Testament. Hagar was the handmaiden of Sarah, Abraham’s barren wife. She had been given (or sold) to Abraham by the Egyptian pharaoh. She was a slave with extremely limited personal freedom and therefore was considered of little value as a human being.
Abraham had been promised decades before that God would make him the father of nations — of so many people that they would be “as numerous as the stars in the sky” (Deuteronomy 28:62). This seemed impossible to them at the time, as Abraham and Sarah were already well into old age. Sarah, especially, had long since passed her childbearing years. She became increasingly frustrated as time passed and she finally did what so many us often do — she decided to take matters into her own hands. She literally threw Hagar into her husband’s arms so that he and Hagar would bear a son whom Sarah could call her own and fulfill God’s promise.
Hagar’s story ended with calamitous results — as all stories do when we go outside of God’s will. Yet the Lord used Sarah’s terrible decision to bring about His greater purpose.
- The song Nicole and I started writing that day was called “The God Who Sees,” because that’s the name Hagar attributed to the Almighty when He delivered her from the wilderness.
But we were unable to finish the song because Nicole was leaving for a ministry trip to Africa and I had to return home to work on the Today Show the next day. I assured Nicole that I had the time to complete the song while she was gone, and we made a plan to get together again when we both returned.
What Nicole and I assumed we would end up with was a three-and-a-half-minute song for Danny Gokey to record. But instead the Holy Spirit inspired me to add the story of Ruth, another woman in despair living many centuries after Hagar. Then He prompted me to include the story of David hiding in the Judean wilderness from King Saul. Then I had the overwhelming feeling that I was to finish it with Mary of Magdala at the cross and at the tomb of Jesus.
I had become fascinated by how even though these individuals lived between 2,000 and 4,000 years ago, their stories felt as though they could have been ripped from today’s headlines. Hagar was a slave who was sexually used and a single mother. Ruth was a widowed immigrant with seemingly no future. David was an anointed king but terrified and hiding in a cave. Mary of Magdala was mentally ill, having been tormented by seven demons.
But the same God —
- the God Who Sees — delivered them all from their despair.
And this same God, who never changes, sees us in our despair and delivers us from it.
Excerpted with permission from The God Who Sees Study Guide, copyright Kathie Lee Gifford.
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No matter what your story is, God is in it. He created you and He knows you. More so, He sees you. Personally. And, He loves you. We hope you join us The God Who Sees Online Bible Study. It’s going to be great! Sign up here. ~ Laurie McClure, Faith.Full