See Me

When my daughter was little and she wanted to show off her monkey-bar skills she would call out, “See me, mama! See me!” She wanted me to watch – to know I appreciated what she was doing.

In Genesis, we meet a woman named Hagar. She was poor and pregnant – feeling scared, useless and alone. But God knew her past and knew right where she was. She realized he was a God who saw her, even when she was trying to hide. She called God El Roi – “the God who sees” (Genesis 16:13). This is the only time in scripture where this name for God is used.

As we keep reading in Genesis, we find Hagar two years later. She and her son, Ishmael, have been banished and Ishmael is dying from thirst. Hagar is weeping over her inability to help him. Suddenly God speaks to her through an angel who says, “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”(Genesis 21:17-18). Then God opened Hagar’s eyes, and she saw just what they needed right then – a well full of water. It seems Hagar had forgotten the name she called out to God years before. She forgot that her God is El Roi.

During her life, my mom was diagnosed with cancer three times. Every time we sat at a table across from a doctor and heard the word “cancer” followed by options, treatments, and prognoses. The last time we sat at that table, the doctor said there were very few options and we probably only had a few months left with her. After the doctor left, my mom said, “Well, what do we know?” Our first response was, “We know cancer sucks.” My mom responded, “Yes, it does. But we also know that God has always been faithful to us, and he will be faithful this time, too.”  She remembered that her God is El Roi.

Mom lived four years beyond that last meeting around the doctor’s table. We were so grateful for all of that time, but there were many times during those years when I sat with my mom and wondered, “Does God even know we’re here? Does he have any idea?” How often in the midst of our fear, loneliness, pain or confusion do we cry out, “See me, God! See me!”? He saw Hagar and was faithful to her and her son. He saw my family in that doctor’s office and he understood our circumstances. He knows where we are and will meet us there to provide exactly what we need. He is El Roi – the God who sees.

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