There she sat alone by the water. Given to a man, by no choice of her own, only to be used as part of a selfish plan. She received no protection or provision that normally comes from a union like this. She wasn’t loved. She wasn’t cherished. She wasn’t cared for.
She was despised. Sure, she had been spiteful. But nobody could see the hurt she was going through.
She was cast aside like something worthless. Hated by her mistress. Ignored by the man whom she had been given to as a wife. So she ran away.
Now she sat there, crying out her heartache through hot tears. She felt so alone. There was no one she could talk to about this. There was no one who would understand. Until unexpectedly, someone showed up.
In case you didn’t already figure it out, this is the story of Hagar in Genesis chapter 16. God had promised Abram and Sarai offspring, but as of yet Sarai was still barren. Instead of waiting on the Lord, they decided to take matters into their own hands and “help” God out. Whether Hagar went along with it willingly or not, the Bible doesn’t say.
The story above was this author’s imagining of some of the emotions and thoughts that may have been going through her head.
Now let’s look at the rest of the story. The one who shows up next to her by the spring of water in the wilderness is the angel of the Lord. This is most likely a pre-incarnate Christ because he makes a promise to Hagar that only God could make, and because later she calls him God.
He asks her where she has come from and where she is going, to which she replies that she is fleeing from her mistress, Sarai. Then the angel of the Lord tells her to return to Sarai and submit to her, and that he is going to give her so many offspring that they will not be able to be numbered.
Then we read these beautiful words that should comfort the heart of every believer:
“So she called the name of the LORD who spoke to her, ‘You are a God of seeing,’ for she said, ‘Truly here I have seen him who looks after me.’” (Genesis 16:13)
“You are a God of seeing” could also be translated “You are a God who sees me”. And that couldn’t be truer.
In all of Hagar’s hurt, in all of her broken relationships, in all of the degradation, and isolation, and sin, God saw her and looked after her.
Maybe you are not in a strange relationship triangle like Hagar. But can you relate? Have you ever felt like you were all alone in a situation? That no one could see or understand the hurt you were going through? That you had no one to talk to? Have you ever felt isolated by pain?
Maybe it is physical pain. Do you live every day of your life with a physical ailment or illness that nobody seems to understand?
Maybe people have ignored you so much when you tell them you’re hurting that you’ve just stopped trying.
Maybe you don’t want to seem to be complaining so you stay silent.
Maybe no one sees that every day is a struggle just to get out of bed and get going, or to get from point A to point B.
God sees you and knows your pain. He cares.
Maybe it is emotional pain.
Maybe you live in a troubled home and nobody sees the fights you witness between your parents.
Maybe you feel isolated, lonely, or even bullied at school.
Maybe you’ve witnessed some really destructive behavior by someone you love and you go to your room to try and pretend you’re somewhere else.
Maybe you’ve felt so low that you’ve thought about taking your own life.
God sees you and knows your pain. He loves you. He is right there beside you and not a single one of your tears goes unnoticed (Psalm 56:8). You are not alone.
Maybe you have a scar from your past.
Maybe someone dealt harshly with you.
Maybe someone committed a heinous abuse or sin against you. Maybe you were abandoned by parents or a spouse.
Maybe you have a sinful mistake you are trying to hide from, such as an affair, an abortion, or an addiction.
Whatever your past hurt is, know that God sees you and He cares. You can run to Him as your Abba Father—your perfect and loving daddy (even if your earthly father was anything but). You can come to Jesus as your brother and friend.
If it is a sinful past you are running from, know that God wants you to repent. Just like the angel of the Lord commanded Hagar, God wants you to return to your master, Christ Jesus, and submit to his lordship over your life. And just like the father of the prodigal son in chapter 15 of Luke, when you repent Jesus runs to you with open arms, bursting with love, kindness, mercy, and grace. He is ready to take you back. He longs to place his signet ring and robe on you to signify that you are his child and to celebrate your return!
Beloved, no matter what hurt you are haunted by, no matter how many days or months or years of tears you have shed, no matter how isolated and alone you feel, God sees you. Not only does he see you, he cares about you. He looks after you. He is right there beside you holding you under the protection of his wing as you weep, as you agonize, as you silently scream out your heartache (Psalm 91:4). He loves you.
Just as the psalmist said, there is no place we can go where God is not there or where he cannot see us (Psalm 139:1-10). Beloved, won’t you find comfort in knowing that God is a God who sees you?
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