It is a desert time for the Invisible Woman. A lonely struggle. Her eyes scan the horizon for a sign that it will be over soon but there is only dry sand and she is left to walk it out alone in the vast emptiness. It’s such hard work and maybe it would seem easier if she had a companion. For heaven’s sake don’t you dare sit down and give up for God is El Roi (el, ro-ee): The God Who Sees
This reminds me of a desert time for a young woman, Hagar. Her desperate story is told in Genesis 16:1-15. It almost ended very badly for her… but The Lord saw her.
Sarah and Abraham were never able to conceive. They are well past their prime and even so God had promised them a child, their very own – from them. As time went on they began to doubt the promise and took matters into their own hands. Sarah had a young Egyptian maidservant, Hagar. Sarah suggested that Abraham conceive a child with Hagar. And it was so. (Now ladies, of course you and I can obviously see that this would be a bad idea. Often our desperation can lead us to do the most regrettable things.) Soon Sarah experiences the full force of her regret as jealousy sets in and these two women begin to despise one another. Hagar flaunted her pregnancy and Sarah made life difficult for Hagar. It got bad. Sarah complained to Abraham but he was not much help. “Do with her whatever you think best. (Genesis 16:6)” he said, essentially –she’s your problem (I have a feeling this will not turn out well for Hagar). Her poor actions had inclined Sarah’s severe treatment. Women can be so cruel to each other. I can just see them getting their digs in, preying upon the insecurities of the other. Us ladies know how to get her where it hurts. These women made life miserable for each other. I’m sure the rest of the house was miserable too. It gets so bad that Hagar’s fight turned to flight and she runs, choosing the scorching heat of the desert over the unbearable conflict. She cries as she walks. Her heart is crushed. Her mind is anxious. Her hormones have her wound up and she just keeps putting as much distance as possible between her and the pain. All she can see is her pain.
But she is not as alone as she feels…
Next we read, “…the Lord found Hagar near a spring in the dessert…” Genesis 16:7
“Hagar, servant of Sarah, where have you come from, and where are you going?…Go back to your mistress and submit to her.” Genesis 16:8-9
Go back?! Submit?! An impossible task for a young woman whose pride has led her out here with only a burned bridge behind her. But God reassures her. He acknowledges her child and her misery and He lifts her downcast face to rise and see the future that awaits her. Her and her son. She has been seen. (Genesis 16:10-12) God saw her broken heart and saw her future.
With this divine assurance, she stands. And turns toward home. Eyes focused. She walks with purpose. God has spoken to her. Her son will live and grow to be a man. A steady peace and calm covers this reckless girl. Her anxious mind that was once so narrowly focused on her present injustice has now been given a view from a much higher place. And just there, on the horizon, she sees that this troubling time will pass. Confident that she has not and never will escape God’s watchfulness, she knows she’ll be alright. This is all the assurance she needs to overcome all of her trials.
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)
El Roi – The God Who Sees
The Lord is close to the broken-hearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. Psalm 34:18
According to Psalm 34:18, where is God when we are hurting?
We are so vulnerable when we go through desert times. Without support God can seem so far off; so detached from our pain and loneliness. Invisible woman, you need to know that God does see you. In fact, according to Psalm 34:18 He pays special attention to those who are hurting.
think with me
Did you ever consider that this season in the desert was designed by God to prompt you to come to Him? That possibly He has something special for you if only you would go to Him for comfort instead of another source? (In my lonely times God sees me not by a well in the desert, but when Netflix stops my show to ask if I’m still watching. Sadly I am. What a wonderful distraction from the burdens of life and alone-ness, insert eye-roll here.) Where does God see you?
If you’ve been hurt from being left out and unnoticed has there been a temptation to not even try to connect with others again? Has self-preservation become your only comfort? Don’t linger too long in the shadows. It’s time to come out into the light.
pray with me
El Roi, I believe that you see me. I believe that you see what is ahead of me and that you will use what is behind me. Lord, You are invisible and go unnoticed by so many of Your creation yet you do not give up on us. You are so patient with us. Your watchfulness has been my strength and comfort through every trial. I am never alone. You have our attention now, Lord. Forgive us for ignoring You as we feel sorry for ourselves. Here and now we lay down our pride and we turn humbly to You, seeking Your comfort and council. Amen.