Monday, May 9, 2016

The God Who Sees Me

So Hagar named the Lord who spoke to her, “You are the God who sees me,” for she said, “Here I have seen one who sees me!”
~ Genesis 16:13, NET ~

It's happened more than once. The accusing looks, the blatant stares, and then the come barrage of questions. General questions at first, then more prying, and then, specifically, the questions about why my children don't all look like me, or perhaps it's my husband that they just don't quite look like. And then complete strangers, boldly questioning my fidelity to my husband, thinking it is acceptable to ask such personal, private questions to satisfy their own curiosity because my children don't all look alike. Yes, it's true: some of them are adopted. And no, I have not been unfaithful. And sometimes there are questions about behaviors, or therapies, or things that our children say and do that lead others to blame us as parents. They don't understand why traditional parenting wisdom doesn't always fit every child and every situation. And then I realize that I don't need to defend myself from strangers who don't know anything about my family and I shouldn't even be concerned about what they think. But the prying, the outright questions, they sometimes sting deeply. I'm not sure why it bothers me when perfect strangers see me in such a negative light. It really has nothing to do with me and everything to do with their own presumptions, assumptions, and negative feelings. But it still hurts that someone could think of me so poorly. 

And then I am reminded of Hagar, in Genesis 16. Hagar was the slave of Sarai, who was barren. Sarai should have trusted God's promise that she was going to have descendants, but she got rather impatient and gave her slave over to her husband so she could have children by proxy, so to speak, and her husband could have an heir. I'm not really sure what she was thinking when she did this, but she seriously regretted it. When she discovered that Hagar was indeed pregnant, she mistreated Hagar, and Hagar ran away. 

Hagar must have felt so alone out in the desert, like no one understood. She was a slave, so I imagine she didn't have much choice in the matter. She felt like no one saw her misery and everyone felt poorly towards her. But do you know what? God saw! And God understood. He spoke to Hagar in the desert, letting her know that He understood. He told her to name her son Ishmael, for the Lord heard her misery. He also told her to go back to Sarai and Abram, and that He would make her descendants too many to number. God heard and understood Hagar's struggle. She didn't have to defend herself because God saw. And so she named the Lord, "You are the God who sees me."

When we see a name of God in the Bible, it reveals a little piece of God's character that is also true for us. Our God is the God who sees me and who sees you. He understands your suffering. He sees when people talk poorly about you, He sees when people don't understand your family or your suffering. We may feel alone and in distress, but God is the God who sees and hears and understands. 

Dear God, 
Thank You that You see our suffering, our heartaches, our needs. Thank You that see, and hear, and understand. Please help us to lean on You in every situation because You can make miracles out of any situation and beauty and goodness come from suffering. Help us to know and trust that You have our lives in Your very hands. 


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