Tonight, I found myself reading Genesis 16. I’ve posted about itbefore. I actually thought that I had wrote about Abraham and Sarah all that I was destined to do so until I found myself there again tonight. I saw something new for me. It’s funny how, no matter how often we read a passage of the Bible, God is able to reveal something new to us when we need it.
I began by noticing how little care Abram and Sarai had for Hagar. They couldn’t even refer to her by name in the Biblical account. She was only “your servant.” They didn’t see her as a person. Sometimes lately I’ve struggled with the feeling that I haven’t been seen. It’s silly. However, I will freely admit that that biggest struggle that I have faced as I’ve followed God’s will and his command to focus on my family and my ministry in my home is that sometimes I feel like I’m unseen. I’ve lost myself and my old identity. My sense of worth is not tied to my job or my things in the way that it was not very long ago. I have broken free, and sometimes in my freedom, I’m not secure yet in my new identity or my new role as a mother, as a discipler, as a facilitator for my children’s education.
I’m also in the hardest, yet most rewarding job that I’ve ever had. Sometimes, after a long day, to realize that I have to do it all again the next day, feels like more than I can stand. The days can be very long and exhausting. In verse 11 of Genesis 16, I see God telling Hagar that even though she feels invisible, even though she’s been taken advantage of, even though she’s fled from her duties, that “the Lord has listened to your affliction.” (As an aside, those days are rarer than they were and full of the knowledge that no matter how badly a day goes wrong, his mercies are new every morning.)
He gives Hagar a rich and prophetic promise for her son. In response, Hagar tells God, “You are a God of seeing.” That is a beautiful thing.
He sees me when I feel invisible.
He sees me when I fail as a wife and mother.
He sees me when I flounder as an educator of my children.
He sees me when I feel as if I have no friends.
He sees me when I’m frightened over my finances.
He sees me when I despair over sickness and death.
He sees me when I fail Him daily.
Life is beautiful. Life is painful and life is full of affliction. I am learning to stand still and wait. To stand still and know that he is the God who is able to give me strength.
Even more importantly, I am learning to see myself, not as a failure, but as he sees me. I think I can now understand what Hagar means in Genesis 16:13 when she says, “Truly here I have seen Him who looks after me.”
I will be still. I will know that he is God. I cannot rely on myself. Just today, my heart has been completely full to the brim watching as my daughter was baptized. Yet, my heart has also been empty and broken knowing that my grandfather is in the final stages of dying of cancer.
He sees both, and tonight my comfort came in the form of a toddler girl who kept stealing my blankets in laughing, giving me big mouth kisses and trying to stick her passy in my mouth. Who can be sorrowful with that going on?
I love the way Hagar is given a gift–the gift of Ishmael–a comfort to her. A bright spot of joy in a situation that has bad written all over it. I have so much joy in my life. I’m truly thankful for the God who has seen me and has provided so much joy in my life that I rarely have time to dwell on the things that could be bonds of affliction. I pray that I’ll always be able to see the one who looks after me.