When God Asks You a Question (Genesis 16:8)

Share the Post:

I love asking unanswerable questions.

Several years ago, in teaching a Bible class based on the life of Solomon, I asked everyone if they thought Solomon was in Heaven.

Everyone hem-hawed around the answer — some claimed he wasn’t based on his life, others that he was based on his wisdom.

In reality, we have no idea. But it’s fun to ask those types of questions.

Sometimes, we see those types of questions in the Bible.

Hagar, Where are You Going?

In Genesis 16:8, Hagar is driven from Sarah’s presence by Sarah’s jealousy (which was caused by Sarah’s actions). Hagar is pregnant and finds herself by a spring in the wilderness.

The angel of the Lord approaches and asks her a question: “Hagar, where are you going?”

She has no clue. The only thing she knows for a fact is that she can’t be around Sarah anymore. But pregnant, alone, and without any resources, she doesn’t have much of a chance of survival.

Fortunately for her, God tells her exactly what she’s supposed to do: “Go back to your mistress and submit to her authority” (Genesis 16:9).

This would have been a huge pill for her to swallow, and yet she follows God’s instructions. In her hour of confusion, God gave her direction.

Where are You Going?

We react to uncomfortable situations in similar ways.

If I’m in a period of struggle or trial or uncomfortableness, I tend to run. I’ve struggled with some form of anxiety and depression my entire life, so it’s unusual for me to feel completely out of place.

But when I leave the situation, I often ask myself, “Where am I going? What’s next? Where do I go from here?”

If I’m being honest with myself, I don’t really ever know. I just know I needed to escape, but that’s different than having somewhere to run to.

In those moments, we need to remember our foundation that is rooted in God. We all deal with uncertainty, and like Hagar, we need to lean on the things that we’re supposed to do, regardless of emotion.

Hagar needed to return to her mistress because that was the best and right thing for her to do.

We need to return to God — even when it’s uncomfortable — because it’s the best and right thing for us too.