El Roi- the God who sees

I mentioned Hagar in the previous post, Why go back, and as I’ve read more about this woman I’ve come to learn more about her, about my God and indeed about myself.

When you read the account of Hagar you find that neither Sarah nor Abraham ever addressed her by name. Yet when Hagar fled to the wilderness and there the Angel of the Lord appeared to her he called her by name and knew everything about her (Gen 16:8).

It was no chance encounter in the wilderness because in Genesis 6:7 it says that the angel found her, the finding that comes from searching and seeking. Hagar mattered deeply to God.

Like Hagar I know what it does to me when the Lord calls me by name, when he recognizes me! Hagar received dignity and significance, a simple but unchanging truth that God’s eyes were fixed on her…..she was not alone……she did matter.

Next Hagar does something that no one else in scripture does-male or female- she names Him El Roi: the God who sees me. In doing this she expresses her most basic theological conviction: she is not invisible to God.

I am in awe that “God sees me”, not just as one of countless faces in a crowd…….but “me” all by myself. Yes life can be lonely even amid all our activities, the busyness of life, the hustle and bustle of appointments, errands, friendships, even a good marriage. As quoted in a book I’ve been reading  “For all of us there are plenty of wilderness experiences when we suffer symptoms of isolation and insignificance. For all of us, there are inevitable moments when, even surrounded by loving family and friends, we feel invisible or go through something alone. A surgery, a divorce, a death, a failure. Those sleepless nights, those closet moments, those tears we shed in private.”

What we wouldn’t give to find Hagar’s spring and to be found by the Angel of the Lord. Hagar received dignity and significance. The realization that God’s eyes were fixed on her empowered her with a kind of freedom & meaning that no one could ever take away. She was not alone, she was not abandoned, and she did matter.

In reading about Hagar this week her story shouts loudly to me, and indeed to all of us, as God’s daughters, as God’s sons……we do count~we are not invisible…..Hagar teaches us a valuable and powerful lesson of just how profoundly significant we are to our God….because God is our El Roi- the God who sees!!

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