Friday, September 6, 2013

Women In Scripture: Hagar

 God Sees Me
By Cindy Baum

     I pay attention to men and women in the Bible who are the misfits because there is always a lesson to learn from their stories. One of my favorites is that of Hagar, the slave of Sarah and Abraham. The story is in Genesis 16 and to summarize, Sarah (then called Sarai) had been unable to conceive so she encouraged Abraham (then called Abram) to have a child through their Egyptian servant, Hagar. Hagar taunted Sarah after becoming pregnant and in turn, Sarah treated Hagar harshly to the point that she fled into the desert.

    If anyone felt invisible and unwanted, it was Hagar.  She was living every woman's nightmare…pregnant, alone, utterly abandoned. Or so she thought. God knew her circumstance and sent an angel to minister to her. After this encounter with the Lord, Hagar said to him (verse 13), "You are the God who sees me," for she said, "I have now seen the One who sees me." In Hebrew, that name is El-Roi, the God who sees.

    I'm reminded of a line from the movie Shall We Dance?, a story about a man (played by Richard Gere) who takes up ballroom dancing while going through a midlife crisis. In one scene his wife (played by Susan Sarandon) is explaining to someone why people get married: "Because we need a witness to our lives. There's a billion people on the planet. I mean, what does any one life really mean? But in a're saying 'your life will not go unnoticed, because I will notice it. Your life will not go unwitnessed, because I will witness it.'"

    Isn't that what we all want to some degree? To be seen? Witnessed? Acknowledged?  El-Roi does this for us. He says to each of us, "your life will not go unnoticed, because I will notice it. Your life will not go unwitnessed, because I will witness it. I see you."

    When we forget that our heavenly Father sees us, we will feel invisible and unimportant and will seek acknowledgement from others that will always leave us wanting.  That’s why the story of Hagar is an important reminder of God’s character. It reminds us that even if no one else notices, God witnesses a life he lovingly created for his glory and purpose.  He never abandons his watch over us. He sees us through the filter of Jesus and the cross, redeemed and worthy. That's hardly insignificant!

   God has much to say about how important we are to him.  Psalm 139 is a beautiful testament of the God who sees as he supervised the formation of each one of us before we were born and has remained constantly aware of every moment of our lives thereafter. In fact, there is nowhere we can go that he does not see.  Psalm 121 tells us that the Lord never takes a break from watching over us.  Isaiah 61:3 says we are a planting of the Lord for the display of His splendor. Isaiah 40:10 reminds us that even if the mountains fall, His unfailing love for us will not be shaken nor his covenant removed. 

    No matter how invisible we feel on this planet at times, we are never out of God’s sight. Even if no one else ever knows who we are, even if we never get credit for anything good we've ever done, even when we feel alone, he remains El-Roi, the God who sees us and is always there.


About the Author:  Cindy is mom to three adult daughters and one teenage son who just graduated high school, and has been married 35 years to her college sweetheart.   She enjoys real letter writing, real books, dark chocolate, and still likes to color with a new box of crayons.   You can find Cindy at Letters From Midlife.

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Barbara Thayer said...

What a blessing to open this up to read today. I am so thankful that God sees us and loves us. We are never alone even if we feel like it. God was Hagar's provision for life and He is ours when we run to Him. Thank you so much for sharing this Cindy. Such a great reminder of His faithfulness! Blessings to you!

Oasis said...

Thank you for the beautiful reminder, it changes everything!

Anonymous said...

He knows my name!

Please enter me in the book giveaway.

Thank you and have a blessed weekend!

Becky McGraw

Christina said...

This was beautiful, Cindy. It has been argued that one of the ways we can be sure God is the author of the Bible is that He clearly is not afraid to show the messy parts. Had man written the Bible there would be quite a few unsavory situations that would have been buried or tucked away for ‘appearance’ sake. Not so in the case of Hagar. And, Isn't it good to know that if God revealed Himself to Hagar as the ‘God who Sees’, how much more the blood bought, blood washed, and born again saints of the Most High? Thanks for your piece today!

Persis said...

Thanks for this encouragement, Cindy.

Diane said...

Thank you for this beautiful piece Cindy. I think sometimes we as Christians are so eager to reject the humanistic view of self esteem, and rightly so, that maybe we go a little overboard and forget just how much God really does care about us as individuals. Not that we have any personal merit to be found worthy of, but that as you said so aptly:

"He sees us through the filter of Jesus and the cross, redeemed and worthy. That's hardly insignificant!"

findingthemotherlode said...

Hagar was used for God's purposes. You showed this beautifully. So often we "throw away" those who are integral to God's redemptive plan. You lifted up the unlovable, showed me something of God's heart. Thank you, Cindy.


Cindy said...

Thank you all for the kind words. God as El Roi is especially meaningful to me. :)

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