In my Life Group this week we looked at the account of Hagar in Genesis 16.
Here was a woman completely broken by her circumstances. As Sarah's servant she was told to sleep with Abraham so that she could conceive a child on Sarah's behalf. Then, when she's done as she's told she's mistreated and abused. With no control over her situation, Hagar thinks her only option is to run away, rather than face it.
At this point, the lowest point in her life so far, she has an encounter with the Living God. At the time when she feels completely on her own, deserted by everyone, with no-one on her side, God makes his presence known. He makes it clear to her that he has heard her distress and he cares about her.
"And the angel also said, “You are now pregnant and will give birth to a son. You are to name him Ishmael (which means ‘God hears’), for the Lord has heard your cry of distress." Genesis 16:11. (NLT)
This will be a powerful reminder to her for the rest of her life that God hears her, that he is on her side, that he has not deserted her.
Having experienced the blessing of a relationship with God she calls him El-Roi (The God who sees me).
"Thereafter, Hagar used another name to refer to the Lord, who had spoken to her. She said, 'You are the God who sees me.'" Genesis 16:13. (NLT)
What a comfort and encouragement that must have been to Hagar. Here was someone who saw who she was and saw who she would be. Someone who loves her, who doesn't consider her a nobody or think she's insignificant.
God then gave her the strength to face the situation, to return and submit to Sarah. Hagar was able to do this because she knew God was with her, close enough to see and hear what was happening in her life.
I find so much encouragement from Hagar's experience. It's so reassuring to know that when I'm struggling with a situation, when things are hard, when I feel like I'm on my own and that no-one understands, that when I cry out to God in my distress he hears me because he cares about me, he sees, he notices what I'm going through. Let's choose to believe the truth of God's word rather than believe the lies that say it's not worth calling out to God because he's not listening, he doesn't care and doesn't think we're worth noticing.
It's incredible to know that the Almighty God is the God who sees me - wow! He sees just who I am and who I will be. In those times when we feel ignored, un-noticed and unseen by those around us, it's so good to remember that God sees us as someone who is worthy of his notice because he created us and loves us.
God hears and sees and wants to be involved in every detail of our lives. Knowing that he hears and sees us gives us the confidence to face anything, because we know that he is with us and will give us the grace to endure.
Writing about the privilege of having such a relationship with God has caused me to consider some things. I know that God hears and sees me, but how much do I really hear and see God? How much of my attention do I give to him so that I can hear from him. Do I take the time to see and notice him working in my life? Are my eyes focused on him?
To Think About:
What encouragement and comfort do you receive from knowing God hears and sees you?
Are you in a situation right now where you need to cry out to God and receive his help, strength and grace?
Is there someone you know who would also be blessed by hearing your story of how God hears and sees?