Thou God seest me …
Those words were uttered by a woman named Hagar in Genesis 16. Hagar was Sarah’s handmaid whom Sarah gave to her husband, Abraham, as a second wife. Stranger things have happened in the Old Testament, but the reasoning behind the giving of Hagar to Abraham was Sarah’s barrenness and (perhaps) impatience for a child to be given her by the Lord.
“The Lord hath restrained me from bearing”, Sarah said, speaking to Abraham.
And in response to what the Lord had not yet done, she promptly laid out a plan. Speaking again to Abraham, she said “I pray thee, go into my maid; it may be that I may obtain children by her.”
So Abraham did as Sarah wished. He took Hagar as a wife and impregnated her. One would think the conception would make Sarah happy, since the second marriage and pregnancy was her own plan coming to fruition, but Scripture says that when Sarah saw that Hagar conceived, Hagar was despised in her eyes. Sarah then ran to Abraham, angry, pointing fingers, saying she was the one who was looked upon by Hagar with contempt.
Nothing like an encounter between two women who didn’t have words, but rather an exchange of death stares, right?
If looks could kill …
Clearly, both women thought they were hated by the other. In response, Sarah chose to run to Abraham, while Hagar ran into the wilderness where an angel of the Lord found her and ministered to her. There, the Lord asked Hagar where she was from and where she was going, perhaps as a way to center her. But eventually, he instructed Hagar to return to Sarah, that she would indeed bear a son, that the Lord had listened to her affliction, and her offspring would be multiplied. Hagar’s response?
A simple, soft, awe inspired “You are a God of seeing.”
God had just given Hagar an amazing promise that she would bear a son and that he would multiply her offspring “so that they could not be numbered for multitude.” But she responded to what touched her heart the most: that God had not only heard her affliction, but also saw her.
Being heard is a basic, important, human need. But so is being seen, known, and noticed. God gave that gift to a young woman who had been used and treated harshly, tears dripping violently off her cheeks in the middle of a vast, unwelcoming (but at least quiet) wilderness.
Most, if not all of humanity, will in some form or fashion have the same experience as Hagar (being treated harshly, not being given as a second spouse used for reproduction!). We will know what it is to be used or abused – or both. Cornelius Venema spoke truth when he said …
“Life is not good to me. The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ has been good to me.”
I love Venema’s honesty and realism. Yeah, the Lord is good, but life isn’t always good.
I wouldn’t describe the year 2020 as a year that’s been so good to us. Sickness, political upheaval, job losses, business losses, loneliness, depression, death, grief, and fear have plagued us. But we have a God who sees us. In His love, mercy, and care for us, He saw fit to, via the virgin womb of another young lady named Mary, send us His Son, Jesus who lives with us forever. We celebrate Him, especially this time of year, but He deserves to be celebrated in our hearts 24/7/365. Because without Jesus, we are often easily overlooked. With Jesus, we are always seen, known, loved, and remembered.
Thou God seest us … and we thank You!
***For an incredibly comforting and beautiful song to help us remember God’s continual gaze upon us, click here.