When we think of Abraham and Sarah we tend to whitewash their stories. We can choose to ignore their sin. In today's first readings we have not one but two sins on the part of both Sarai and Abram.
The first is the lack of faith and trust in God that leads Sarai to encourage Abram to sleep with the maid, and Abram doing it.
The second is Sarai abusing the maid, and Abram allowing her to do it.
The good news is that God looks upon this child and says that he is to be called Ishmael, a name that means God hears, or God has heard. Those who do not understand God's ways may read
This one shall be a wild ass of a man, his hand against everyone, and everyone’s hand against him; In opposition to all his kin shall he encamp.
And think, "but doesn't that mean he is cursed." And yet, did God not tell Abram to leave his kin? Was not Jesus despised and reject by those who should have been the first to follow him?
God hears the cries of Hagar, and answers with a promise like the promise he made to Abram
I will make your descents so many that they will be too numerous to count.
Sin is never God's will, it is always a self-centered abuse of free will. But in today's reading God shows us how he can take one person's sin, and turn it into another person's blessings. It does not mean that we will be spared suffering, but it does mean that suffering can always be transformed into a channel of grace.