“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 (NIV)
Sitting down in my favorite chair, cup of tea in hand, journal by my side, I was ready to read the Bible and pray. My family had been instructed not to disturb me and was a distant sound upstairs. Even the dog was quiet. I appreciated the space because I had a singular focus that evening. I was determined to spend time with God because I needed some answers.
My business, once the fruit of dreams we’d prayed and fasted over, was failing. Every day felt like I was working hard to rescue a sinking ship. We tried new strategies; we tried old strategies — nothing worked. I was exhausted.
I needed a plan to fix things; I needed to know the next step. There were some difficult choices to make, but how would I discern them? I needed God’s guidance.
I sat down with every intention of seeking God for direction. I was ready to pray all the confusion out and pray all the clarity in! But when I began, all I could say was:
“God, would You mind if I got into the fetal position, please … because … I can’t —”
My voice broke with sobs that spoke the prayers my words couldn’t form. I curled into a ball on the floor and wept because it’s hard to hold it all together when you’re falling apart. I’d been telling everyone, including myself, that I was “tired but OK.”
But I couldn’t fake it with God. So I stayed on the floor for what seemed like forever, pouring my heart out to Him. The grief and confusion, the anger and disappointment. Eventually a phrase came to my mind: “You are the God who sees me.” I took a slow, deep breath. Hagar.
Hagar spoke these words in the desert after escaping the mistreatment of Abram and Sarai. Her life had been swept up into their own broken struggles, and they had utterly broken her. Yet in the desert, Hagar discovered that, though she had limited value in Abram and Sarai’s eyes, every part of her life was precious to God, and He would redeem her story. In response, Hagar called Him El Roi — the God who sees.
How often do you feel that God doesn’t see what you’re going through? Perhaps you don’t take it personally; after all, there’s so much going on in the world, so many other people in need. Or maybe it does feel personal, as though God sees everyone’s life but yours, hears everyone’s prayers but yours. We struggle through difficult relationships, challenging circumstances, hard decisions that give us sleepless nights. Maybe, like me, you dutifully prepare yourself to pray the right prayers, read the right words and try to be strong for everyone, including God … even though in reality you’re falling apart.
That tearful evening, I was reminded that God doesn’t need me to try to be strong for Him when I’m going through a crisis. He is not surprised by my circumstances; He cares about them and He cares for me. He is the God who sees me.
When I was in crisis, He saw my disappointment and shattered dreams. He saw how afraid I was; He knew the way this crisis touched old wounds and scars in my past. He saw me trying to hold it together for everyone and loved me in it all. He met me there on the floor — and He reminded me of who He is. He is still the God who sees me and redeems my story.
God has seen every chapter of your story, the parts you celebrate and the parts you wish you could forget. He sees you today, in the struggles and the tiredness, the fears and the fun. He sees every part of you. He knows you. He loves you. And when life is falling apart, His hold on you is stronger than your hold on Him. He has no intention of letting you go. He will redeem your story.
Heavenly Father, You know my every thought, my deepest longings and every hope. You know the reality of all my days. Thank You that I do not have to be strong with You. Please help me today. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
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Hebrews 4:16, “Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” (NIV)
In what area of your life do you try to be strong for everyone and hide what you really feel? What could it look like to create some time and space to pour out your heart to God about what’s really going on? Share with us in the comments!
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