The God Who Sees
The last few years have been a lot. There have been moments of great joy, when I have felt on top of the mountains and moments that have felt so low and like I am in the valley.
Pandemic, death, rising costs, recession, poverty, war, abuse scandals within mega churches – it has seemed like the last few years has had it all. But despite what we have been through, individually and corporately as a community of believers, Jesus has been walking with us every step of the way. He knows your name, you’re not alone and He sees you.
In Genesis, Hagar is an Egyptian slave and a handmaiden to Sarah. Sarah gives Hagar to her husband, Abraham, to bear him a child. Despite Hagar doing all that she is asked, she is treated so harshly by Sarah that whilst she is pregnant with Ishmael, she runs away into the desert. At her lowest moment, after abuse, betrayal and pain, God meets Hagar right where she is. Hagar knows that she is heard, seen and loved. God hears her cries of distress and he meets her to comfort her. Hagar goes on to become the only character in the Bible to name God based on her experience. Hagar, a foreigner, slave and abused woman, was not worthless to God but was seen and valued.
I believe that stories like Hagar’s are included to help us realise that it is ok when dark times come because Jesus is our light. We don’t need to run away, or pretend the pain isn’t there but we can call out to a God who sees us and knows us and loves us.
This story came to mind when thinking about the last few years because, as followers of Jesus, we are a people who are not ruled by fear. We do not need to fear pain or suffering or difficult times. We have a faith in Jesus that keeps us going, despite the condition of current times. We have a God who has heard our cries of distress and who sees us, meeting us where we are.
How we choose to respond to dark times, tells others about Jesus. We can choose light, we can choose to confront fear with love, we can choose connection instead of isolation, we can choose to input into our communities and families to allow them to flourish. We can choose life. We can choose Jesus.
Paul tells us in Ephesians 6 that the fight is not against flesh and blood. This means that in a world faced with violence, war, poverty, fear, sickness, racism, abuse and systems of oppression, we can acknowledge our own and others pain, grieve, cry out to God and then stand firm in the light, love and life that Jesus has given us. We have all that we need, in Jesus and through us, we can show Jesus to the rest of the world.