Let’s face it. People let us down. They disappoint us. And sometimes it seems God does too. Often our experiences fall short of our expectations for God to meet all our needs the way we think He should, and like a lover who has been wronged, we tend to guard our hearts against future disappointment by lowering our expectations and trust. But make no mistake about it, God sees. God understands. He is not aloof.
One day I was sitting on the patio with my stepfather, Pete, waiting for the grill to heat up before cooking our dinner. My mom opened the door and gave Pete his orders—telling him what to do and how to do it. When she went back inside, Pete made a hand signal, pointing in one ear and out the other. We both laughed. Then he placed his ruddy hand on my arm, a hand worn by years of working under the hood of cars of every make and model.
“She was pretty hard on you growing up, wasn’t she?” he asked.
“You have no idea,” I answered with a sigh.
But Pete did have an idea. He understood. And that one simple gesture let me know that he had peered into my heart and had seen the truth. The weathered, uneducated country mechanic had looked under the hood of my heart with wisdom and seen the damaged engine within. A heart, though healed by Christ, that still felt the phantom pains of a little girl who felt she was never good enough, who was constantly told what to do and how to do it—and who never did it quite right. Pete saw my heart, and for that, I loved him.
How like God. He places His hand on your shoulders, looks into your eyes, and lets you know that He understands. “I see you,” He says. “I see what you are going through.”
Hagar was a woman in the Bible who experienced that very feeling.
In Genesis, God told Abram that he would be the father of many nations. However, his wife, Sarai, was barren. Sarai got tired of waiting on God to fulfill His promise, so she took matters into her own hands—which always leads to trouble.
She told her husband to sleep with her servant, Hagar, in order to produce a son. While that is shocking for you and me to wrap our minds around, it was a common practice in those days. Abram did what Sarai suggested and Hagar became pregnant. But then Sarai grew jealous of Hagar’s fruitful womb and treated her harshly. When Hagar couldn’t take the ill treatment any longer, she ran away to the desert.
While there, the angel of the LORD came to Hagar and reassured her, encouraged her, and directed her. “She gave this name to the LORD who spoke to her: ‘You are the God who sees me.’” For she said, ‘I have now seen the One who sees me.’” (Genesis 16:13 NIV). God saw her pain when no one else did.
In the New Testament, the book of Hebrews tells us that we have a High Priest, Jesus, who understands what we are going through. He “sympathizes” with our weakness (Hebrews 4:15 ESV). The word “sympathizes” comes from two Greek words, sym and pathos, meaning, “suffer with.” We are not alone in our suffering; the God who sees…the High Priest who understands…is always there.
And you know what? My mom learned that, too. She had had a difficult life and sat in her own personal desert many days. That feisty woman came to know that God saw her, and Jesus understood her. And in the end, when she bossed me around as only a mom of an adult child can do, instead of getting ticked, I got tickled. And Pete and I both laughed.
No matter what you’re going through right now, know this: God sees you; God hears you; God is concerned.
Lord, I am so thankful that I have a God who sees me and High Priest who understands exactly what I’m going through. Help me to rest in the assurance that I am not alone, but in Your capable hands. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
What is one area of your life that you are comforted to know that God sees what you’re going through. Leave a comment and let’s pray for one another.
Words are one of the most powerful forces in the universe, and God has entrusted them to you! They echo in hearts and minds long after they are spoken. How will we use this gift? Your words can change the course of someone’s day…even someone’s life. In The Power of a Woman’s Words: How Your Words Shape the Lives of Others learn how to tame your tongue and speak life to those around you. This book also has a companion study guide that is perfect for women’s Bible study groups!
© 2022 by Sharon Jaynes. All rights reserved.