A Desert, a Boy, and God

“God was with the boy as he grew up.

He lived in the desertand became a skilled archer.”  

Genesis 21:20

Way back near the beginning of the Bible’s history lessons, there was a little boy who was born to a slave woman.  His father loved the boy, but  he eventually had to make a difficult choice which meant the boy would live alone with his mother.  They would live out their lives in a harsh desert.

Many families are “broken families” in the refugee camps in the Sahara.  Due to war, lack of job opportunities, harshness of life, and the realities of survival in refugee realities, there are many children who live with their mothers, but without their fathers. Grandfathers and uncles often step in to help raise the children. 

 Desert life is a world of its own, with values, principles, and training by their families on how to handle life in its harsh realities.  Little boys from the age of 3 are taught to know the night sky. They learn of the constellations and the North Star.  For them, it could be a life-saving education. 

In the vast desert (the same desert that stretches all the way into the lands of many of the Bible’s desert stories), there are only rare landmarks, “roads”, or signs to follow.  The nights, especially, are the most dangerous as untrained travelers become disorientated, lost, and die. 

Knowing the night sky, with the stars giving orientation and direction to endless sands, is critical for survival.  This boy would have had to know well the nighttime Map written in the sky. 

“God was with him as he grew up…”

What a tender statement for this desert boy, without his father.  God Himself stepped into a fatherless son’s life, and wrote him into His Story.  God’s Story continues to be intertwined with that desert boy’s story . . . after all this time. 

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