One of my favourite words in the past season has been El-Roi. The God who sees. Sis, have you ever been in a season where you feel like God does not see you? You feel like He sees everyone else but you. Well I've been there before and maybe you have too. This is why today I have decided to do a bible study and take some lessons from the life of Hagar.
If you haven't read my previous blog post on Sarah, I would definitely encourage you to go back and read before reading this post as I may be referring to some of the things mentioned there. Hagar was briefly mentioned in Sarah's bible study last week but one thing I noticed about this woman is that she is often forgotten, she is often unseen, she is mistreated, and I thought that some people might be able to relate to her story.
So before we dive into Hagar's story, what might it look like in today's day and age to feel unseen by God? Well let's start with our walk with God. Sometimes we go through wilderness seasons where our relationship or walk with God feels dry. As in dessert dry! Perhaps you can't hear God as you used to. Perhaps you are praying but your prayers just don't seem to be answered. You are screaming and all you hear is the echo of your screams, instead of that comforting voice of God that you need to hear in that moment. I remember being there and literally questioning if God was with me. God where are you? I remember sitting in my room one day feeling so discouraged and I was reminded of a scripture: Isaiah 41:10. It says "Do not fear for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand." God also sent someone to call me randomly (or so I thought) to encourage me in that moment and I just knew that God sees me and He hears me too.
It might not be your walk with God. Maybe for you it is your constant feeling of being deprived of that desire you have for a husband or children. Year in, year out you start with hopes that this will be the year, this will be YOUR year. But then again it turns out that it's the year of so many other sisters around you, but not yours. Or perhaps it's that promotion at your job, but year after year they just don't seem to see you as each time the person who started their role after you got the promotion instead. In fact you even trained the person when they joined your company. Or maybe you feel like you have been in a silent season. You cannot remember the last time you testified apart from the fact that you have made it through another, yet every week you are celebrating the testimony of another brother or sister. And again you question, does God see me?
So let's get into our dear sister Hagar's story and see what we can learn if we find ourselves in this season of feeling like God does not see us. By way of background, Hagar was a slave. So already she was in a position that many would not want to be in. She became the servant to Sarah (Sarai then) and Abraham, probably after having to leave her family in Egypt (Abraham was given servants while he was in Egypt which is probably when Hagar joined them - Genesis 12:16). Hagar didn't really have much choice when Sarai suggested that Abraham takes her as his wife and gets her pregnant to have a child on her behalf. Not only did Hagar have to deal with this with little choice, but once the baby was born she now had to deal with being treated harshly by her mistress and sent out pretty much as a single mother. We then see Hagar in the wilderness.
In the Wilderness.
The truth is most people don't like to be in a wilderness, whether it is for a short period or for a long period of time. Sometimes people may find themselves in the wilderness after some kind of injustice, trauma or abuse. This is where Hagar found herself. Now sis, if you have ever been in a wilderness you will know that this is a time where it feels like you are unseen. A time of isolation and sometimes loneliness even when people are around. A time of being misunderstood and unseen. Not just unseen by others but also unseen by God. A time when God feels distant, far away, and we may find ourselves question whether God is with us, whether He can see us. Afterall, if He did see us we would not be going through what we are going through right? We wouldn't be in this current situation. We wouldn't be in the wilderness.
Well when Hagar had her wilderness moment and was literally at a point of rock bottom, that is when God turned up. The angel of the Lord said to Hagar "the Lord has listened to your affliction". How comforting that must have been in that moment. It reminds me of a scripture that we can hold on to in our wilderness moments, "The righteous cry out, the LORD hears and he rescues them from all their afflictions." (Psalm 34:17 NAB). I hope that comforts you today.
I just want to end with something that Hagar said which is the real crux of this bible study. She said "You are a God of seeing [...]. Truly here I have seen him who looks after me." (Genesis 16:13). Hagar may have been a single mother, a slave, an outcast but she was not forgotten. Perhaps unseen by others, but seen by God. God is truly a God of seeing. He sees you and He sees me. I know sometimes it feels like He doesn't. It may feel like He has forgotten you, like He sees everyone else but you, is blessing everyone else but you. My prayer for you today sis is that whatever you may be going through right now on your journey, may you know that God is truly a God of seeing and most importantly may you see Him (even in the midst of the pain, the storm, and the uncertainties) and know that He looks after you.
It's happened before. It's happening again.
Hagar found herself in the wilderness a second time, this time with her son who was now grown, but yet again God saw her and He came through for her (Genesis 21:15-21). This should be encouragement to us that no matter what our situation and circumstances, God sees us and will come through for us, over and over again. The first time it was the angel of the Lord that found Hagar in the wilderness. The second time Hagar did not hesitate to lift up her voice and weep. And again God intervened and opened her eyes to provision right there in the wilderness (a place where water was not ordinarily found). The truth is, as we mature, sometimes it takes us having to cry out for help! But we can be assured that when we do, God will surely answer one way or another, even if it is not in our own timing. This is the hope that we hold on to, for where there is life there is hope.
God sees you. Sometimes it may feel like He doesn't or that He sees you but does nothing to change your situation. God came through for Hagar, not once, but twice and probably many other times after. He can and by His grace will come through for you too. In Jesus Name, Amen.
I would like to encourage you to also read the story of Hagar yourself and allow the Holy Spirit to minister to your situation personally. You can find it in Genesis 16 and 21.
Lots of love