Hagar had run away from home. She had been treated unfairly by her mistress, because she was pregnant by her master. Her mistress had longed for a baby for years and decided that having a surrogate was the best way to accomplish this. However, now that Hagar was expecting her master’s child, her mistress had turned against her.
Hagar couldn’t bear it any longer and fled into the wilderness. Weary and discouraged she stopped by a well. It was there an angel of the Lord visited her, assuring her that God had seen her distress. Hagar was to name her baby boy Ishmael and was instructed to return home.
Hagar marveled at this heavenly encounter. “Have I truly seen the One who has seen me?” From that point on, she referred to the Lord as “You are the One who sees me.” The well where she had stopped was also given that name in remembrance.
Fast forward sixteen years. Hagar was again in the wilderness. The relationship between mistress and servant had grown more hostile over the years. Her mistress had miraculously given birth to a son and was determined to protect his inheritance. This time instead of running away, Hagar and Ishmael had been sent away with some food and a container of water. Eventually the water ran out, and Hagar despaired for Ishmael’s life. She placed him in the only shade she could find and burst into tears, resigned to the fate of certain death.
Suddenly an angel of the Lord shouted out to Hagar. Hagar must not be afraid. Ishmael would live and become a great nation. God opened her eyes and showed her a well nearby. The Lord had seen her again and provided deliverance. (Hagar’s story is found in Genesis Chapters 16 and 21.)
I can really relate to Hagar. In the midst of a great challenge, the Lord intervenes and reveals that He is the One who sees me. He has not forgotten me, but rather is well acquainted with my circumstances and promises to walk with me. My heart is encouraged for a little while. Until another challenge comes along.
You would think that I would remember my encounters with the One who sees me, that I would courageously face difficulties with confidence because of the powerful revelations of the Almighty in my life. But, alas, stress and the cares of life can cause me to become quite forgetful. My mind travels down negative roads, imagining certain failure and doom. Like Hagar, I need to be reminded again. The One who sees me, also hears me, and has a good and loving plan.
Last fall I had a Hagar moment. For the last three years, the Lord has been faithful to provide for the pregnancy center I lead. He has revealed Himself time and time again as the One who sees me. When I learned that our ultrasound machine was 10 years old and should be replaced, we launched a major fundraising effort. My hope was that we would raise the $30,000+ needed for a new ultrasound machine at our annual banquet in November. By the end of the evening, only about $3,000 had been designated for the ultrasound machine.
“Lord, now what?” I despaired. “At this rate it’s going to take a whole year to raise the money. And I don’t want to take that long!”
I sensed the Lord’s assurance. “Trust me. I will provide.”
“Okay, Lord. I really don’t have any other choice!” I quipped, my inner voice dripping with disappointment.
My Hagar moment. I wish I had responded with faith that the Lord would take care of the need. I wish my prayers and self-talk were filled with confidence. Instead I felt deflated and defeated.
I know God is the One who sees me. And sometimes I forget.
Two days later I received a phone call from one of my Board members. He had been contacted by a local foundation. They wanted to fund the purchase of the new ultrasound machine!
The One who sees me reminded me yet again.
What about you, my friend? Are you facing a troubling situation in your personal life, with a relationship, or in your workplace? Do you feel overwhelmed by the enormity or impossibility of your circumstances?
Allow me to remind you that the Lord sees you. Nothing is too hard for Him. He is working on your behalf. The One who sees you, also hears you, and has a good and loving plan.
God is our refuge and strength,
an ever-present help in trouble (Psalm 46:1).
The Lord is righteous in all his ways
and faithful in all he does.
The Lord is near to all who call on him,
to all who call on him in truth.
He fulfills the desires of those who fear him;
he hears their cry and saves them (Psalm 145:17-19).
Heavenly Father, sometimes I feel alone and forgotten. Thank You for being the One who sees me. Thank You for reminding me often that Your presence is near. Teach me to keep my attention on You rather than my circumstances. As I focus on Your constancy, may my faith in You arise. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.