The story of Hagar in the Bible breaks my heart. To read about an enslaved woman who was used for her ability to bear children, forced into bearing the son of her master, and then punished by the wife who owned her disgusts me. When she fled into the desert with her unborn son, there was little hope.
Approached by an angel at a spring, she was promised descendants beyond number if she returned to Sarai, her owner (Gen. 16:10). God saw her in her misery, and met her exactly where she was at.
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
This past week, I had lunch with someone I barely knew. We have plenty of mutual friends, and I’ve known her for years, but she always had her walls up around me. We talked about some hard things going on in her life for about two hours, and at the end of the conversation, she told me, “Thank you for talking with me. I feel seen.”
I immediately thought of Hagar. They are different stories, but there is this deep-rooted desire in humanity to be seen by creation and Creator. When she said it to me, I realized how deeply I’ve been craving it. To be seen, to be recognized wherever you’re at and have someone meet you there. It reminded me that impactful listening requires more than just ears.
God has never loved us for what is only surface-level. We cannot hide from who we are, and He sees right through us. His response is love. He sees me and asks, “Where have you come from? Where are you going?” (Gen. 16:8)
It’s easy to see things and refuse to meet people in their deserts. It’s easy to stare at springs and ignore the hard questions. It’s terrifying to be exposed, but the reality is that every time we choose vulnerability in our own failures, we have an opportunity to receive grace.
God sees us, and I think He wants us to see one another. Love makes better choices when it isn’t blind. I’ll be taking more time this week to see those around me, and to let others see me. I have a friend who has seen me when others haven’t, and that has blessed me more than anything in any of my relationships.
Remember to take a harder look at those around you and actually see them. I think you’ll find them in their deserts by their springs, and if you look a little harder, you’ll find the One who sees them.