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El Roi: The God Who Sees Me

Two of our greatest needs as human beings are to be understood and valued and yet, have we not all felt at times unnoticed, unappreciated, unwanted? 

Genesis 16 tells the story of Hagar, an Egyptian slave to Sarai and Abram. When Sarai grew impatient with God’s timing for the birth of a promised child, she coerced her maidservant to participate in her scheme and be given to Abram to become a surrogate mother. As a slave Hagar had no rights and so had to comply.

When Hagar became pregnant, she took revenge by taunting Sarai. Sarai allowed her jealousy to grow unchecked and Abram acquiesced to Sarai’s plan to deal harshly with Hagar. None of the players were innocent, but Hagar suffered the greatest consequences of being both physically and emotionally abused and abandoned.

So Hagar, whose Hebrew name means “flight” runs away. Into the desert. Into the wilderness. Into the valley of death. There she is confronted by an Angel of the Lord, Who:

  • Meets Hagar in the place of her despair (v7)

  • Calls her by name (v8)

  • Challenges her to assess her situation (v8)

  • Instructs her to return in humility, recognizing her part in the breakdown of relationships (v9)

  • Promises her a son (v11)

  • Names her child, “Ishmael” (v11), “because the Lord has heard and paid attention to your persecution(suffering)”.

  • Promises her many descendants (v10)

Hagar responds, “You are the God who Sees me” (v13). Hagar acknowledges God - a God who sees her situation, sorrow, her sin and yet does not abandon her. In fact, He finds HER! She is valued. “Have I not even here [in the wilderness] remained alive after seeing Him [who sees me with understanding and compassion]?” Hagar receives new life, strength and purpose as she obeys and returns.

This same God sees you, sees me with understanding and compassion in our wilderness, in our suffering when no one else does. When your efforts and sacrifices are unrecognized by others, God sees you. When unkind words pierce your heart, God sees you. When you’re in pain, afraid, alone. When you’ve lost what’s dear, when dreams die, when your heart breaks, God sees you with understanding and compassion.

He sees you and He will see you through.

-Kathi Fritz (a contributing writer and valued member of the COBI community)

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