“Faith Enough: Hagar and Mairead
When we think of the great women of faith in the Bible, it isn’t often that Hagar comes to mind. Her story is surprisingly brief, almost a footnote in the larger tale of Abraham and Sarah and the chosen nation to which they would give birth. When I visualize this Egyptian maidservant, I inevitably bring to mind the vampish taunts of actress Zoe Sallis who portrayed her in John Huston’s film The Bible. But somewhere in the course of reading Genesis so many times, I’ve realized that the vague details of her story leave room for another interpretation.
This woman—who was also destined to give birth to a great nation—was abandoned, thrust out from her home by the father of her son, left to wander the desert, and presumably die. When at last she and Ishmael collapse beneath a bush, her hopelessness is tangible: “Do not let me see the boy die!”
Whatever Hagar may have been (and there’s little doubt that she behaved less than angelically toward her mistress, even as there’s little doubt that Sarah probably behaved less than reasonably toward her maid), whatever she may have become after this chapter ends and she exits the Biblical account forever, she stands as a beacon for the rest of us in our own moments of hopelessness.
She cries out to God in despair, probably doubting that this God of Abraham’s would even hear her, much less respond. She had not even faith enough to ask for a miracle. She didn’t ask to be saved; she asked only to be spared the sight of her son’s death. And from that tinier-than-a-mustard-seed grain of faith—just faith enough to speak up—God granted her a renewal beyond anything she imagined.
In my recently released medieval novel Behold the Dawn , my heroine, Lady Mairead of Keaton, is forced into a situation just as hopeless. Pursued by evil men, she flees to the Third Crusade in the Holy Land, only to be captured by the infidels and watch her husband die of his wounds. Alone in a hopeless situation, with only the kernel of her battered faith to support her, she too must find the courage to call out to God.
And when He answers in a way she never expected, by bringing her a rescuer in the shape of the condemned and embittered knight Marcus Annan, she must embark on a perilous journey that will force her to cast everything upon the Lord and trust that even in the midst of impossible circumstances, He is, indeed, a God of hope. He is a God who may lead us to the edge of our endurance—to the edge of Hagar’s desert—but He will never abandon us, so long as we have even just faith enough to speak up.
About the Author: K.M. Weiland http://www.kmweiland.com writes historical and speculative fiction from her home in the sandhills of western Nebraska. She is the author of A Man Called Outlaw and the recently released Behold the Dawn
Thanks for that great insight and the book sounds truly intriguing.–Lyn