Are you feeling unseen in the corners of your life? Leaves fall quietly around us, darkness comes early, the dishes pile up with the laundry and the dust, and we wonder, are we seen?
I once asked a group of women gathered around my living room, “What do you most need?” I was not surprised by their answer, not so different as mine. We want to be seen, to feel heard.
Leaves fall quietly around us, darkness comes early, the dishes pile up with the laundry and the dust, and we wonder, are we seen? Are we seen in the merciless spinning of plates with to-do lists longer than Santa’s Christmas list?
Most days, I confess, I wonder myself, am I seen? Are my cries of pain unheard? In the dark corners of our lives, in the unholy hard, I question this. Prayers uttered from the depths of my soul twenty years or more, seemingly go unheard. And I began to wonder, am I unseen, here on bended knee in the dark of night?
In the book of Genesis, another woman feels as if she too goes unseen.
In Genesis 17, Abraham and Sarah received a promise from God, that through a child, Abraham would be many nations. Abraham and Sarah, they’re old, they have prayed, and waited, they wait twenty-five plus years. Sarah, for days, months, and years wonders that her prayer has gone unanswered. In her UNSEEN-NESS she takes matters into her own hands.
Can anyone relate?
Sarah, impatient for God to move, convinces Abraham to sleep with her maidservant, Hagar. Hagar conceives and has a son whom she names, Ishmael. Sometime afterward, Sarah’s son, Isaac is born. I can imagine the tension, the jealousy, and contention in this home. In Genesis 21, the storm brews, and Abraham is forced to take heart rendering action.
“The child grew and was weaned, and Abraham held a great feast on the day Isaac was weaned. But Sarah saw the son mocking – the one Hagar the Egyptian had borne to Abraham. So she said to Abraham, ‘Drive out this slave with her son, for the son of this slave will not be co-heir with my son Isaac!’
This was very distressing to Abraham because of his son. But God said to Abraham, ‘Do not be distressed about the boy and about your slave. Whatever Sarah says to you, listen to her, because your offspring will be traced through Isaac, and I will also make a nation of the slave’s son because he is your offspring.’
Early in the morning Abraham got up, took bread and a waterskin, put them on Hagar’s shoulders, and sent her and the boy away. She left and wandered in The Wilderness of Beer-sheba. When the water in the skin was gone, she left the boy under one of the bushes and went and sat at a distance, about a bow shot away, for she said, ‘I can’t bear to watch the boy die!’ While she sat at a distance, she wept loudly.
God heard the boy crying, and the angel of God called to Hagar from heaven and said to her, ‘What’s wrong, Hagar? Don’t be afraid, for God has heard the boy crying from the place where he is. Get up, help the boy up, and grasp his hand, for I will make him a great nation.’
Then God opened her eyes, and she saw a well. So she went and filled the waterskin and gave the boy a drink. God was with the boy, and he grew; he settled in the wilderness and became an archer. He settled in the Wilderness of Paran, and his mother got a wife for him from the land of Egypt.” Genesis 21:8-21 (CSB)
- Sarah in her barrenness feels unseen.
- Abraham forced to run off his first son, feels unseen and receives another promise from God.
- Hagar forced into the wilderness feels unseen.
In this passage of Scripture, my heart wrenches for Hagar. I feel her raw pain as she hides in the bushes unseen, alone with her heartbreak. Not only does God see Hagar and the boy, but he also hears her desperate cry.
El Roi, The God Who Sees, He sees you in the wilderness. He hears our desperate pleas. He fills our barrenness, provides for us, and prospers us in our unseen-ness.
Gifts of Grace
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I’m blessed to serve you in this place, to share with you the Gifts of Grace as I journey through the wilderness. I picture you across the table, hands wrapped tightly around your cup, sharing life, and laughter, and tears. As I share with you, my daily struggles, I long to hear what yours may be. You can do that by commenting below or reaching out to me here.