Do you ever feel invisible? You can’t handle another moment, and no one even knows.
We’ve all had our invisible moments. Moments of vulnerability and a sense of rejection. Moments no one seems to notice.
But you know what?
There is Someone who sees.
Hagar was a slave, and even today people don’t tend to really see the beauty of her story.
In Genesis we read the story of Abraham and Sara and how God promised them a child. But after years of waiting for their promised son with no signs of the fulfillment of the promises, Sara decides to take things into her own hands. She hands over her slave, Hagar, to her husband, to have children through her.
Hagar isn’t perfect by any means, she resents and ridicules her mistress. Many look at her story as a huge mistake in history, seeing as her child is destined to be one of Israel’s greatest enemies. And it’s true, Hagar’s story is very sad. But honestly I very much feel sorry for this woman.
Hagar is a slave. She has no choice in her life. She’s used by her masters without her consent. Handed over to basically be an incubator for their desires for a child. She has no say, no rights. She is very much abused by her mistress when she does become pregnant. Alone and pregnant in an abusive situation with no one to defend her, she runs away. And honestly, as much as Abraham is a giant in Biblical history, this part of his story sounds more like a story out of the sex slavery trade of today.
And then, alone in the desert, we find one of the most beautiful moments in scripture.
Because in that moment, all alone, God meets Hagar. The angel of the Lord comes to her, reassures her, tells her that many people will come from the child she carries, and that He has seen her misery.
She gave this name to the Lord who spoke to her: “You are the God who sees me,” for she said, “I have now seen the One who sees me.” Genesis 16:13
There are many names of God in scripture. Studying them is something that can be very powerful in your life as you being to understand the different facets of Him.
But would you ever guess that one of them is given by a slave woman? Alone in the desert, pregnant with a child that will eventually be the enemy of His people? Would you ever suppose that a woman like Hagar would have this honor?
El Roi. The God who sees.
The God who sees me.
Hagar goes back to her mistress, and later, Sara finally has her own son. And a bitter Sara sends Hagar and her child Ishmael away to die. She is as easily discarded as she was used and abused. No one cares for a slave. No one sees her suffering.
But Someone does.
Someone walked with her through all the dark places of her life. And provided for her at her worst moments.
Early the next morning Abraham took some food and a skin of water and gave them to Hagar. He set them on her shoulders and then sent her off with he boy. She went on her way and wandered in the Desert of Beersheba. When the water in the skin was gone, she put the boy under one of the bushes. Then she went off and sat down about a bowshot away, for she thought, “I cannot watch the boy die.” And as she sat there, she began to sob. God heard the boy crying, and the angel of God called to Hagar from heaven and said to her, “What is the matter, Hagar? Do not be afraid; God has heard the boy crying as he lies there. Lift the boy up and take him by the hand, for I will make him into a great nation.” Then God opened her eyes and she saw a well of water. So she went and filled the skin with water and gave the boy a drink. Genesis 21:14-19
El Roi meets her again. Sees her again. He never abandoned her, or blames her for the part she is forced to play in this story. But instead He cares for her, provides for her, shows grace to her. He sees her.
If there ever was a woman who could have been invisible, it was Hagar. But God sees her.
And He sees us too.
When we are in those dark places of our lives, He sees us. Whether we are feeling alone, abused, defeated, lost, or just unnoticed, we can know He is there for us, and sees everything we are feeling.
The God who Sees.
I confess there are days I feel very invisible. I think we all have them. Days when I just don’t know how to reach out anymore, or days I would love to just have one person notice me, but it seems no one does. Days when I’m tired, days when I’m depressed. We all have these days. And it cam feel frustrating that the people around us sometimes don’t notice. Sometimes even those closest to us won’t see the struggles going on in our hearts.
But that’s ok.
Because Someone does see.
God always sees.
God always sees you.
God always sees me.
~Joy Aletheia Stevens