I remember once in the staffroom at work, a few people were chatting and laughing about an issue that was, unknown to them, very significant and painful to me. Not wanting to embarrass myself I quickly exited to the ladies, where I could sob my heart out in peace, wash my face, and return as if nothing had happened.
Genesis 16 v 11 tells us that the Lord heard Hagar’s misery. We might like to keep our tears private, but God knows all about them. The name Ishmael means the God who hears.
The prophecy for Ishmael would not exactly be the future of choice for a baby; but Hagar could be certain that whatever difficulties her baby would encounter, God would hear him.
I have no idea whether Hagar had previously understood or believed in Abram’s god, but now she had met him, and named him You are the God who sees me. She had found the inescapable love of a God who wanted relationship with individual people, be they rich man or slave girl.
A God who hears, and sees, and knows us, and still wants to love us. And since we can’t hide our tears from God, we might as well share all our concerns with him. It might mean that we have to go back with our tail between our legs, and face up to the consequences of our misdeeds, as Hagar did. Or it might mean that we discover we are not as much the innocent victim as we thought ourselves to be. Right or wrong, he will still love us and give us wisdom to help us in every situation.