My fingers click-clack-clickety-click and immediately delete. Again and again and again. Sometimes the words come easily, others, like today, I’m struggling to articulate just what it is God is pressing on my heart. It’s easy to look back and reflect on the lessons learned, it’s a whole other thing to see the lesson in the learning! Like Krista mentioned previously, we have to ask God to open our eyes and let us see so we can look through the mud and truly see what He is doing. I know in my gut He is sovereign over the seen and unseen, but oh how I, like doubting Thomas, lean towards seeing to believe!
It’s then that I realize I truly have it backwards!
We have a God who sees us despite whether we see Him or not!
There is such beauty in this truth.
I’m reminded of Hagar, remember her? She was the maidservant of Abram’s wife, Sarai. God had made a covenant with Abram– promising him a nation and offspring more numerous than the stars in the sky. There was just a little problem– Sarai could not have children and was way beyond child bearing years. Thinking she would help God along in fulfilling His promise (how many times have I done this too?!), she gave Hagar to Abram so perhaps Hagar could get pregnant and begin Abram’s lineage. This turns out just the way you’d expect it to when two women are sleeping with the same husband– bad! Very bad! They both start despising each other and Sarai begins mistreating her maidservant. It becomes so bad in fact, Hagar flees to the desert!
I often wonder what Hagar was thinking at this point! She’s pregnant, fleeing by herself, in a desert. Did I mention she’s pregnant? Ain’t nobody wanna be in a desert pregnant! Whew! Glad I got that off my chest! It must have been bad.
Anyway, the wonderful part of the story is that the bible says “The angel of the Lord found Hagar near a spring in the desert… And he said, ‘Hagar, servant of Sarai, where have you come from and where are you going?'” (Gen 16:7-8)
Oh how beautiful it is to be found!
Not only did he find her, but he cares for her. He asks her, unassumingly I might add, what the heck is going on! And she responds with honesty and confesses she’s running away. Keep in mind, she’s a servant. This is not a waitressing job or an employment-at-will situation. She’s basically owned by Sarai, and she’s running because she’s being treated awfully by the very woman who ordered her to do what got her into this mess. I don’t blame her one bit. But the truth is, she’s running.
The beauty is that God did not leave her in the desert. He did not throw up his hands exasperated, shaking his head in disappointment. No, no, no. He gently called her to go back and submit.
Say what?! That’s worse if you ask me!
Yes, I know, I had to read it a few times myself. I actually was slightly annoyed at God for a moment too, if I’m completely honest with you. Here is this pregnant woman, in a desert, fleeing her mistress who treats her like dirt– and the God of the heavens is telling her to go back and submit. Oh the tears that must have been shed. The pounding of fists and screaming into imaginary pillows in the desert. Yet the scriptures simply state that her response to Him was simply “You are the God who sees me… I have now seen the One who sees me.” (Gen 16:13)
It’s obvious that Hagar didn’t see God in the situation when she was fleeing in the desert! She didn’t see Him working or fighting for her or orchestrating big beautiful plans on her behalf. She couldn’t see Him. But in her brokenness, in her weariness, in her disobedience, even– He saw her. We serve a God who sees us even if we can’t see Him at work.
As the angel of the Lord is telling Hagar to go back and submit, He also tells her He will multiply her descendants more abundantly than she can count. In other words, He will bless her for her faithfulness. I know multiple descendants may not sound like a blessing (haha!) but it was in such a time. Hagar would name the son she bore “Ishmael”, meaning “God hears”. She was seen by a God who heard her as well!
So now, as I look internally and pray that God would open my eyes, I also whisper the truth that I know He sees even when I do not. I pray I would be faithful to return and submit where He’s calling me to (laundry, anyone?!). I pray, like a tweet I read earlier this week said, “If we really believe that God is good then we should never be afraid of his answers to our prayers” even if His answer is to go back and submit (shout out to Mike Kim from Emmanuel ERC! I might not have ever met you or maybe I did but you tweet good stuff!). I pray I would rest in the truth that the Lord really does see me and my little, mundane, beautiful life. He sees even when I do not see Him.
If you are running to the desert today, look up. He sees you!
He may ask where you’ve come from, and where you’re going, and that’s okay. It’s because He sees you!
He may ask you to return, to submit even– but it’s only because He sees you!
He sees us, friends.
And there is blessing… A multitude of blessing for our faithfulness. My only hope that it is not in the multiple descendants category of blessing! haha 🙂