Thursday, July 7, 2011

Can You See Me Now?

Things have once again been busy in my life. I am now in my third week of Boot Camp. I am surprisingly enjoying myself! There is something about exercising that early in the morning when most of the world is still asleep. We also have a devotional to start us out and that helps me keep my focus where it needs to be. I have discovered muscles that I never knew existed. Did you know there are muscles in between your ribs? Other than breathing, I don't think I have ever used these before. The words "bring the pain" have a whole new meaning now. Seriously, COGI and Danny Copeland are an awesome way to get your mind, body and spirit in shape.

A while back, I did a Bible study that included pieces from the Old Testament. I am more of a New Testament kind of person, but I believe that just like everything else, we can learn from our pasts and apply it to the here and now. The writer focused on the story of Hagar from Genesis chapter 16. If you are not familiar with this story, here is the Cliff notes version. God promised Abraham and Sarah an heir. They did not trust in His plan and Sarah gave her servant Hagar to Abraham so that they might have a child after many years of infertility. Hagar became pregnant with a son who would be called Ishmael. Sarah, clouded with jealousy, started mistreating Hagar to the point that she ran away to escape. Abraham, of course, could not be bothered with this problem and offered no help. This is the part of the story I want to focus on. We find Hagar, alone and pregnant, and the angel of the Lord appears to her and tells her that God hears her cry of distress and sees what she is going through. The angel also tells her that God wants her to return to Sarah and submit to her. Was Sarah to blame for any of this? Of course. She felt inadequate and took this out on Hagar. What about Abraham? He went along with the plan, but when things went wrong, he refused to help resolve the situation.

Poor is easy for us to feel sorry for her. We have all felt wronged before. I can relate to her. People who were allied and were richer and more powerful than her were against her....even going so far as to bully and mistreat her. Nobody wanted to offer her help. There she was, alone and vulnerable, with no one willing to hear her or really SEE her. Guess what? She wasn't alone. God SAW her and HEARD her cries. I don't mean He just looked down from above and peered at her through the clouds....He saw into her soul, her innermost being and knew what she was going through. Hagar listened to God and went back to Sarah's household. She accepted God's promise of help and acted as she should. She learned that even though she was justified in her feelings, running away from problems does not solve them. After she made up her mind to follow God's plan, she gave Him a new name...El Roi or "the God who sees".

Going back to this story has helped me through so many times and situations. My heavenly Father loves me. He forgives me. He SEES me. Isn't that what we feel like is missing from our lives sometimes? People go about their daily routine and we feel unheard and unseen. Nobody notices that we are struggling, or if they do notice, they act like they don't care. I have definitely been there. More often than I would like to admit I have thrown myself a pity party. After studying this story, however, I began to view my struggles in a different light. Yes....I feel better when people support me and genuinely know me and my struggles. Yes....I feel better when people care for me physically and mentally. connections with people are very important to me and I love being around all types of people. But I wasn't turning my problems over to the One who made me and who knows the words I am going to say even before I speak them. Reading and studying His word and His promises has let me know that He really does see ME. The "God who sees" created me for a unique and special purpose and knows my struggles. Sometimes I have to turn to Him minute by minute to make it through.

I have had the story of Hagar on my mind for quite some time now. Last night, I attended a study done by Alabaster Jar Ministries called "Fearfully and Wonderfully Made". The story of Hagar came up once again. Coincidence? I don't believe in those anymore. What I DO believe is that God "sees" me and hears my cries. The Bible verse that I believe sums up this story is found in the New Testament in Romans.
"And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to His purpose for them." Romans 8:28

1 comment:

  1. Amen to the unseen. It sometimes feels that way. And like what we do does't really matter. And even like, although our houses are full to the brim, that we are quite alone. But He is always with us. I want to join boot camp!!