The God Who Sees
As I was reading through the account of Abraham Sarah and Hagar in Genesis, I saw something that I found interesting. When Sarah fails to conceive the son that God had promised her, she takes matters into own hands and gives Abraham her maid, Hagar. I can’t imagine how Hagar must have felt to be used for the sake of gaining an heir for her mistress.
Jewish history claims Hagar was the daughter of Pharaoh King of Egypt. When she saw the miracle that God performed for the sake of Sarah, to save her from the hands of the Egyptian king during Abrahams visit there, she said, “It is better to be a slave in Sarah’s house than a princess in my own.” (Chabad.org) So when she saw that she carried Abraham’s heir, she copped an attitude with Sarah who began to mistreat her.
She flees into the wilderness to escape. While she is there an angel of the Lord appears to her telling her to return and God would indeed bless her and multiply her. In Genesis 16:11 the angel says, “You are with child, and you shall bear a son. You shall call his name Ishmael, BECAUSE the Lord has heard you…”Then she called the name of the lord who spoke to her…You-Are-The-God-Who-Sees, for I have seen Him who sees me.
In the darkest moments of her life, God reveals himself to her. He hears her and sees her. I mean what could be better than that! When we are struggling and can’t seem to find the light at the end of the proverbial tunnel wouldn’t it be amazing to have an angel show up and give us the answers that we need?
But even if an angel doesn’t ring our doorbell with a package of answers, we still have a God, a God who sees us! We can know that no matter what we are struggling with it has not escaped his glance. He sees where we are, he has a plan, he has the answer, he simply asks that we trust him. We must trust his plan, his timing and his ways. I can tell you he probably will not do it the way we think he will or when we would like him to do it, but he will provide exactly what we need and what is best.
Then again when Ishmael is about 16, Sarah sees him laughing at her son Isaac and tells Abraham to send her and her son away; she will not have him being an heir with her son. So Abraham sends them into the wilderness. When they are about to die of thirst, she puts Ishmael under a tree and goes a distance away as to not see him die. Genesis 21:17 says, “And God heard the voice of the lad. Then the angel of God called to Hagar out of heaven and said to her, fear not for God has heard the voice of the lad WHERE HE IS…”
God knows right where you are. He knows the betrayal, the heartache you have suffered, the lies being told about you, the broken promises you’ve suffered…He sees you. Isn’t that all that any of us really want is for someone, anyone to really see us? To listen even though they may not understand us or have an answer? To be there, to support us and love us in our mess and be Jesus with skin on…something tangible we can hold onto when all other supports have vanished…
Its.just.not.fair…Was what happened to Hagar and Ishmael fair or just? No. But that isn’t the issue is it. The fact is God took care of them. Jewish historical accounts state it is believed that after Sarah died Isaac himself went to her and took her back to his father to again be his wife. The Torah calls her “Keturah” meaning tied to Abraham, and she bore more children to him. God rewarded her faithfulness after many years of waiting. It must have felt like the justice she had longed for.
We would love to avoid all of the hard things that we face, the ugly people who hurt us, the unjust suffering we have to endure, but we live in a fallen, broken world with a bunch of broken people who hurt other people. Pain is unavoidable. But we serve a God who wipes away every tear (Revelation 21) a God who understands all too well our pain because he bore our grief and our suffering.
As we approach this Easter, let’s remember the God who saw us in our greatest need, who loved us before we ever gave him a thought and provided the sacrifice it took to bring us into relationship with him. The God who saw us in our sin and loved us enough to do something, to put on skin and come for us…
Precious Jesus…thank you for your costly sacrifice, for loving us enough to shed your very own blood to save us from ourselves. We remember and we are grateful.