Usually when people talk about certainties, there’s a quip about death and taxes. When Jesus spoke about certainties, He assured us with the utmost sincerity that there will be insults, persecution and suffering―and that we are blessed when we endure those things.
“You are blessed when they insult you and persecute you and falsely say every kind of evil against you because of me. Be glad and rejoice, because your reward is great in heaven.”Matthew 5:10-12 (CSB)
Blessing and reward sound great! That other stuff? Not so much.
How exactly are we expected to do this very hard thing; how can we be glad and rejoice in treatment that is paradoxically harmful and also the route to blessing and reward?
Hagar’s Reason For Hope
I imagine Hagar was similarly bewildered when, fleeing from the harsh mistreatment of her mistress Sarai, an angel of the Lord appeared to her and instructed her
“You must go back to your mistress and submit to her mistreatment.”Genesis 16:9
If there was ever a time that seemed fitting not to turn the other cheek, it would surely be when a pregnant slave is several days into her journey through a desert, escaping persecution.
At that moment, very little, if anything, could have persuaded me to heed those words. What was it, exactly, that gave Hagar the faith she needed to redirect her course toward enduring suffering?