In a world that does everything it can to diminish our individuality one can easily forget who we are. One can easily become invisible. So many times we feel pushed and pulled in a million directions as our lives take shape, the years pass by, and we suddenly realize we don't know who we are anymore. We can no longer define ourselves. Perhaps it was the heartbreak, perhaps it was the abuse, perhaps it was disappointment after disappointment, but for whatever the myriad collaboration of reasons that exist; we no longer do. We look at ourselves and wonder, does anybody see me? Does anybody really know who I am?
I recently studied the story of Hagar in Genesis chapter 16. Hagar is the slave of Sarai, the wife of Abram. And her story is the stuff of R-rated movies. It seems our dear Sarai cannot have children and because custom allows she gives, without Hagar's consent, her slave to Abram so that she may have children by her. Abram agrees to the arrangement (big surprise), and Hagar conceives. I'm sure you can guess what happens next, right? The two women begin to not get along. Hagar despises Sarai, Sarai blames Abram, and Abram lets his wife mistreat Hagar. And Hagar runs. Actually, the bible says she flees to a spring in the desert. And I don't blame her. I think I'd take my chances with a hot desert over an angry barren women any day! It's at this moment that I imagine Hagar feels incredibly alone. Invisible. A slave who has no say in her life has done what she's been commanded to do and this is the result. Alone & pregnant in the desert. How could her life have come to this? We complain about our lives but can we even imagine having no choices? No chances? Absolutely no hope? Can we place ourselves here in this moment with her? Have you been in a moment like this? Then you will love God's response. He asks her, "Hagar, servant of Sarai, where have you come from, and where are you going?" And she honestly tells him she's run away. She doesn't lie or make excuses, she just lays it all out on the line. And note, she doesn't say where she's going either, because at that moment her life is going nowhere. He tells her to go back and serve and then promises that her descendants will be "too numerous to count." At the end of their encounter Hagar gives the Lord a name, "You are the God who sees me, for she said, I have now seen the One who sees me." WOW....just let that sink in for a moment. Ok, are you ready? He saw her. Everything about her. She wasn't invisible, she wasn't unknown or forgotten. Not then, or before, or next week. She was seen by the one who created her. And so are you. In a world that does it's best to erase you remember, he sees you. Every skill you posses every talent you display he designed it and he appreciates it, even when the rest of the population passes you by. There is nothing about you that is unknown to him, and he loves you still. And notice too, that through this encounter Hagar sees God. In the lowest moment of her life when God steps in she's allowed to see him. He reveals himself to an Egyptian slave to remind us that when we are broken, when we are humble, we are ready. We are ready to see the One who sees us and the new beginnings he has in mind.