“We are not an afterthought to God. We are the point of His involvement with this planet.” – B. Moore
I am eating up my bible study on Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob these days in Africa. It’s Saturday today and Gabs and I have been able spend a rare day at home doing all of our laundry by hand while the carpenters work away on the soon to be built kitchen and the heavy Ugandan rain breaks up the sky! Unreal.
The lesson on Genesis 16 has floored me today. It’s a familiar story. Abram and Sarai are getting on in years and still haven’t been able to bless their marriage with a child. Sarai, growing impatient, tells her husband to have a baby for them with her servant Hagar instead (…Seriously…) but after Hagar becomes pregnant with Abram’s child, Sarai changes her mind (yeah, anyone might have told her it would be a mistake!) and begins to treat her now despised servant harshly—so harshly that the young, overwhelmed, mistreated Hagar runs away, trying to get back to Egypt where she came from.
But there in the desert, a loving God seeks her out. She is met by “an angel of God” (but when you read into the Hebrew wording, you realize it is God Himself in the form of a man appearing like an angel) and He speaks with her. Hagar was Egyptian. She didn’t know this God of the Hebrews, so didn’t believe in Him and seek Him out. He sought her. That thought moves me so much. And it did Hagar as well. Gen 16:13 says, “Thereafter, Hagar referred to the Lord, who had spoken to her, as ‘The God who Sees Me,’ for she said, ‘I have seen the One who sees me!’” Hagar had been used like a piece of property, “used” in every sense of the word. Her personhood completely overlooked. Except for by a God she didn’t even know, but Whom had always known her.
What I’d never realized before was that when Hagar gave God a name—“The God Who Sees Me”—she was the first and last person, male or female, to ever give Him a name in the whole of the Old Testament. He could have appeared to any of the 3 characters in this story—Abram and Sarai were Hebrews, at least!—but He chose to speak to the down-trodden Hagar. Hagar, the Egyptian maid-servant. The foreigner and the slave and the woman, the runaway, unmarried, pregnant woman at that. In such a culture and day in age, she was the lowest of low nobodies. To my God with His heart of love and compassion, she was of utmost value. And He saw her. (And gave her even scholarly significance as being the only recorded OT character to give Him a name!).
I am awash with wonder when I think of it in light of the majesty I know He is made of. This is what I love most about my Highest of High God; His attentiveness to the hearts of the nobodies like me—and the half-naked children hauling water home in dirty jugs from the water pump just outside our gate here; and the carpenter who only finished our bathroom door before he had to stop work to go to the hospital with a suspected case of AIDS, which strikes “nobodies” all across this continent like nowhere else; and the beautiful, old-as-time lady with the deepest lines in her face whom we saw on the street yesterday, carrying a massive load on her head wrapped in a dirty cloth and holding out her hand saying her well-practiced bit of English, “Give me money”— He sees each individual nobody; we are the point of His involvement with this planet in coming as Jesus Christ to die that we might know Him and live. He sees us when all is well, and He smiles with our smiling hearts. And He sees us when we are hiding behind a frail smile, and kisses at the wounds hiding there. He sees every single effort we make which goes unnoticed, every varied emotion which rolls through our souls and rocks us with it, every tear of frustration shed or left inside. He sees every kind of joy dancing in our spirits which we cannot put to adequate words. He sees it all. He always has. El Roi—The God Who Sees.
And I cannot respond with anything but love. And praise. And a grateful life of serving Him because of Who He is and a desperate desire for others to know Him too. This God who sees them and loves them, no matter the state their in.
This God who sees you and loves you, no matter the state you’re in.
The next time you find yourself run into your desert, notice Him there. He’s sought you out. You are the point of His involvement with this planet.
He sees you.