Recently our family spent a week at the beach and my husband and I arose early on our first morning to go on a walk/run along the ocean’s shore. My husband’s a runner and I’m a walker so he typically runs ahead of me, turns around and catches up with me later before the end of my walk. We’ve done this many times so with a departing kiss, we set out on our early morning beach trek.
Forty minutes later I spotted my husband several hundred yards up the beach, scanning the shore and looking for me. I was further down the beach close to the water and he was near the dunes shielding his eyes from the bright morning sun and trying to find me. I saw him and assumed it was only a matter of seconds before he spotted me and started running in my direction so I didn’t make any attempt to get his attention or wave him over. But to my surprise and with a twinge of sadness, I watched as he turned and started running in the opposite direction away from me.
“He didn’t see me,” I thought to myself.
“How could he have not seen me?” I wondered. “I could see him, why didn’t he see me?”
Fifteen minutes later he’s back at the car texting me “where are you?”
“I’m here…still walking. I saw you but you didn’t see me” I responded.
“Weird, I don’t know how I missed you?” he answered.
“Me neither. I’ll be there in a few minutes,” I texted back and then turned my attention to the beauty surrounding me.
Glistening water, golden sands and a bright morning sun lay before me as I soaked up the last few minutes of my walk. I couldn’t help but think about that sense of feeling unseen and missed, knowing that many people feel invisible and overlooked by the Lord.
Genesis 16 recounts the story of two women who perhaps felt overlooked too. Hagar, Sarai’s Egyptian maidservant, was given to her husband Abram by Sarai as a means to build a family for themselves since Sarai was barren. In typical female fashion, Sarai felt the need to take control and help God along, rather than submit, trust and wait for God’s perfect plan to unfold in her life. Sarai, perhaps as the result of feeling unseen by God, begins to use and manipulate others to get what she wants. As the dysfunctional story unfolds, Hagar gets pregnant by Abram and starts despising Sarai, Sarai blames Abram and mistreats Hagar, and Hagar runs away. The angel of the Lord finds Hagar in the desert near a spring, pregnant and alone.
Do you think Hagar felt unseen and overlooked in that moment? Perhaps she felt invisible, uncared for, used and discarded?
In this striking account, the angel of the Lord finds Hagar, questions her, guides her and pronounces God’s plan for her life and the life of the son she is to bear. In response to her intimate divine encounter, Hagar gives the name El Roi to the LORD in Genesis 16:13, proclaiming “You are the God who sees me….I have now seen the One who sees me.”
Nowhere else in scripture is a human permitted to name the LORD except in Hagar’s story. Despite Hagar’s difficult circumstances, her intimate divine encounter left her with one penetrating revelation about the LORD, “He sees me”.
Intimacy with the LORD is the key that frees us from the prison of feeling unseen, invisible and overlooked.
As I rounded the final bend on my beach walk, my heart skipped a beat as I saw my husband up ahead running towards me. He wasn’t waiting for me in the car as I had assumed. He was coming for me.
Dear friend, God has not turned his back on you and started running in the opposite direction. He hasn’t overlooked you or missed you. He isn’t waiting for you to come to Him. He came for Hagar and He is coming for you. Don’t run away and try to hide. Allow El Roi to find you right where you are, question you, guide you and pronounce His plan for your life over you. Pursue intimacy in your relationship with Him so that, like Hagar, come what may, you can say from the core of your being, “my God sees me….I have now seen the One who sees me” (Ge 16:13).
He sees you dear friend. Intently and intimately. He sees you.
Please consider joining us this Christmas season in helping others know they too are seen by a loving and intimate God: http://www.dosomethingnow.com/
Christmas joy in El Roi, the God who sees us and came for us,