I thought it might be timely to share two posts from a couple years ago. Here’s the second.

Some things are just tough.

Like figuring out why people are fascinated with Snooki, or how to fold fitted sheets, or what makes some people able to eat a kabillion Trader Joe’s dark chocolate covered almonds with sea salt and not gain a pound.

Or, you know…how to achieve peace between all the people in all the places.

When it comes to the Middle East I keep wanting to say, “Lord I’m a bear of Very Little Brain” like Winnie the Pooh.

I have a long way to go, but God is patient and often a theme gradually emerges.  Yesterday I wrote

The truest thing I’m learning about peace is that keeping people at a distance makes it easy to demonize them.

But coming close topples the walls of misunderstanding.

This morning God reinforced this as I re-read the story of when God comes close to Hagar.

Sarah, wife of Abraham, has mistreated Hagar, the surrogate “wife” who runs away into the desert, heading back to Egypt (does that sound like a reality TV show, or what?)

Abraham, Sarah, and Hagar each have a story.  Each are seen and loved by God. But they have trouble seeing and loving each other.

Here’s what spoke to me.  In the desert and in her pain, God meets Hagar and models something I’m thinking I can learn from (even with my little bear brain).

Even though Abraham and Sarah only call Hagar “servant”, God calls her by name.

He sees her!  (16:13)

And He asks her two questions:

Where have you come from?

and

Where are you going?

Here in the Middle East everyone has a story of injustices that have happened in the past and everyone is trying to hold on to their hopes for a future.

As we try to draw close and understand those who are different from us, whether it’s Israeli’s and Palestinians or Republicans and Democrats, gay and straight, I wonder if learning someone’s name, looking them in the eye and asking them questions like these is a place to start…

Who might you ask today:  Where have you come from?  Where do you want to go?