Have you ever felt ‘unseen’…by God? I’m not sure where you are at this moment – feeling worn, uncertain or disappointed. Perhaps mediocre, pained, or you-fill-in-the-blank. It makes sense for us to long for miraculous change when life feels flat or desires are left unmet. Mental illness. Pandemics. Loneliness. More. Does God actually see us when our hearts feel abandoned and miraculous change never comes when we pray? In Genesis, Hagar is told to marry Abram, mistreated terribly by Sarai, and asked to stick it out rather than escape. How betrayed, abandoned, and unseen she must have felt. Never quite belonging, constantly. Yet right in the midst of her suffering she does something peculiar – she describes God as one who ‘sees’, not only her anguishing circumstances, but her. (Genesis 16:13-16)
Hagar’s story teaches us that there’s a different-kind-of-miraculous that’s ours to discover if we’re willing to find it. It’s not the miraculous that obliterates darkness – it’s the kind of miraculous that shines out in spite of it. God’s glory and purpose shining through distress is a recurrent biblical pattern. When God’s people were repeatedly brutalized, God kept multiplying their numbers (Exodus 1). When Daniel’s life was continually endangered, his humility triggered promotion (Daniel 1-6). Ruined Ruth who had been emptied of all care, unexpectedly continued the line of Christ (Ruth 4). The Bible’s list of weary people who God shone through, is long. Abraham. Esther. Peter. Mary. Us?
Even Nathaniel believed in Him, when Jesus told him that He ‘saw’ him earlier, sitting under an ordinary fig tree. (John 1:48) Wherever you are at, whether your circumstances are despairing or plain, know this – God plans to use the process you are in for good, and He plans to ‘see’ you every step of the way. While the miracle isn’t always that our circumstances change, the miracle is always that we do. By God’s power and goodness, all life events can trigger worship instead of worry because every situation becomes an opportunity for Him to be magnified.
And we’re never abandoned in the process. Almighty God embraced a body of human skin centuries ago, in order to send His Spirit to embrace us now. Through His Word and Spirit, He’ll come close enough to be seen, close enough to see us, and He’s faithful enough to prove that His closeness is all we need.
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)
Reading: 2 Corinthians 4:8-18