Others wisdom for living

Freedom – a difficult thing to manage

One of the lessons to learn from the story of Hagar and her son, Ishmael, when they were wandering in the desert of Beersheba, not knowing where to go, is that freedom can be a difficult thing to manage. This woman and her son had been sent out of the house of Abraham with nothing but some food and a skin of water. Why? It was because she and her son were just slaves in that house. Yes, she bore Abraham a son. That, however, did not change the fact that she was just a slave, the property of her mistress, Sarah. And when the presence of her son began to threaten the inheritance of Isaac, the true heir to all that Abraham had, Sarah insisted that she and her son must be sent away. This, of course, troubled Abraham, for Ishmael, slave or no slave, was his true son. But God overruled in the matter and told him to listen to the voice of his wife. So Hagar and her son were both sent packing the same day. (Cf. Gen 16&21) Now, of course, though they were sent packing with nothing to live on, they were sent away as free people. In other words, what they did with their lives from that moment on was nobody’s business again, not even Sarah’s. Yet there are times that facing life as a free person may be more difficult or dangerous than facing it as a slave. As slaves in Abraham’s house, both Hagar and her son Ishmael had access to food, water, shelter, wears, security, money and so forth. They even had the attention of Abraham because of the relationship they had with him.
But when they were sent out that house, with nothing to their credit, they realised how dangerous being free can be. I mean that it just dawned them that perhaps freedom was not they needed at that time. For though they were free, their freedom could not save them from hunger, thirst and loneliness. And this is something many young people need to seriously consider and learn from. A lot of times, they agitate for freedom from parental guidance and monitoring. And that is because they think being free is synonymous to being on top of the world. Then, when they eventually succeed in taking the freedom they want, they use it to destroy their lives, their future and, sometimes, other people’s lives as well.
In like manner, there are many who want freedom from spiritual guidance and monitoring. They think they have just had enough of being pastored or led by God and the leaders He has appointed over them. So, they have forcefully given themselves freedom from the leadership of the Spirit and are now ordering their own lives as they please. I tell you, a day is coming when, having ruined their lives and perhaps those of others, such people would wish they never had the freedom they took for themselves.
See, the fact that you are free, in whatever sense you want to be free, does not mean you will be able to use your freedom to arrange a better life or future for yourself. There are many independent nations today that are still begging and borrowing all the time to survive. And there are many free men, women and children today who have not been able to do something tangible with their lives with the freedom they have. Is that to say freedom is not good? No! Freedom is great. But freedom is responsibility. Yes, it means you take responsibility for yourself.
But can you take responsibility for yourself without destroying yourself in the process? You cannot, if you do not have God with you, supplying you with the wisdom, knowledge, understanding and resources to do so. This, of course, is what we see in Hagar and Ishmael’s case. Until God showed up to open their eyes to see His provision of water for them in that desert and to also tell them His plans to make Ishmael great, their freedom would certainly have cost them their lives.
So, first, know the kind of freedom you seek to have in your life, for it is not every kind of freedom you can manage without destroying yourself. Second, don’t just seek legitimate freedom from the things that have enslaved or bound you in life; also seek God’s provisions to manage your freedom. And perhaps you have already used your freedom to ruin your life. You can still turn to God for help, as long as there is breath in you. He will not turn down your earnest prayer for help but come to your rescue with speed. But don’t wait any longer. Call to Him now.

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