You are the God who sees me.
With big smiles and bear hugs we enthusiastically greet each other every Sunday.
Hello, sister! How are you?
But something about her response this time was different.
“I’m hanging in there,” she said with a half-smile.
Now, I happen to know from personal experience that hanging in there is code for:
- If only you knew,
- Jesus take the wheel!, or
- Help! I need a life-line.
None of which are good.
So, I quickly offered up a few words of encouragement – and within a nano-second, my dear sister in Christ was fighting back her tears.
It’s not like she could tell me specifics or anything, but I didn’t need her to – her eyes said it all as they widened and the tears formed.
Her eyes whispered . . .
– I’m in so much pain.
– It hurts so bad.
– I’m dying inside.
You see, I know that look all-too-well – it’s the same one I saw starring back at me in the mirror when I experienced my own family crisis not that long ago – the one that I was certain would be my undoing. (Had me writing posts about if walls could talk. Girl, I was a hot mess!)
I could feel my sweet sisters pain in every tearful pause and in every unspoken word because, I had been there; and it takes one to know one.
But I’m not the only one who knows: There is another who knows; another who sees.
Where my knowledge is finite, His is infinite.
Where my sight is limited, His is unlimited.
Sometimes the circumstance causing our pain is epic.
Perhaps we have suffered a miscarriage, or we have a child on drugs, in jail, or one that has died from an overdose. Maybe a husband has just confessed to infidelity or we’ve been served divorce papers.
But even if the genesis of our pain is less earth shattering, pain is still pain, and its effects can be emotionally crippling and spiritually debilitating if left unchecked.
The Bible tells us that Hagar’s home life was at DEFCON 1, too.
Genesis 16 tells us that when Sarai, who was barren, got the not-so-bright idea to have children through her slave, she “gave” Hagar to her husband (Abram) to have children for her; but when Hagar conceived she began to despise Sarai.
When Sarai complained to Abram about Hagar’s new-found naughty attitude, Abram gave Sarai permission to do as she pleased with Hagar.
Long story short, Hagar – who was now pregnant, unloved, mistreated by her mistress, and without any protections – ended up running for her life!
Can you imagine how bad things much have been for Hagar? I can only imagine how bad Sarai’s treatment of her must have been if she thought running away into the desert was a better option. We need to read between the lines there. Things were far from good for her.
Shortly thereafter, “The Angel of the Lord” caught-up with Hagar near a spring in the desert:
“Hagar, slave of Sarai, where have you come from, and where are you going?” (v.8)
“I’m running away from my mistress Sarai,” she answered. (v.8)
Then the angel of the Lord told her, “Go back to your mistress and submit to her.” (v.9)
And here we have Hagar’s beautiful revelation:
“You are the God who sees me,” for she said, “I have now seen the One who sees me.” (v.13)
Even if we are experiencing the worst family crisis of our life, we have this assurance . . .
No matter how lonely we feel, no matter how dire our familial circumstances, God “sees” us and He knows exactly what we are going through.
He is a God who is “intimately acquainted” with all of our ways. (Psalm 139:9)
He seeks us out: Just as He pursued Hagar and comforted her in her time of distress, He “sees” us, and He stands ready to wrap His loving arms around us, if we’d only turn to him.
He sees our weary heart and He feels our pain.
We are not alone.
That is what I wanted my sweet sister in Christ to know.
No, I couldn’t make her situation disappear. I couldn’t take away her pain. I couldn’t stop the storm clouds (God’s appointed trial?) from swirling around her; but I wanted her to know that even while she is “hanging on,” our God, He “sees” her.
And to be seen by God is a powerful thing.
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