The God Who Sees Me

By: Megan Sinisi

My family and I just recently returned from an amazing road trip, driving to Seattle and back down the coast.  One of the bucket list items I have is to see every National Park, and we hit four on this trip! 

 Now, one thing you need to know is that my youngest child, Liliana, is addicted to stuffed animals.  She has more stuffed animals that we can count, and if her siblings happen to get one, she will have confiscated it by the end of the day.  While we were on this trip, we had told her she could only get one “stuffie.”  Somehow she had acquired three.  So, we’re at this visitor center and she wanted to get another stuffie to add to her massive collection.  And we said no.  

Tantrum ensued.  

Her big brother, Rocco, seeing her distress, wanted to buy her the stuffie she wanted.  So, in the middle of the visitor center, I have a four year old throwing a tantrum and an 11 year old wanting to give her what she wants.  As I’m holding Liliana, I am talking to Rocco and explaining to him that I love his heart and how he wants to bless his sister, but we are trying to teach her a bigger lesson that she can’t always get what she wants.  His sweet heart was struggling to understand as he saw his sister visibly upset.  As I was talking to him, I noticed that the entire visitor center was dead silent because everyone was watching me have this interaction with my kids.  You could hear me talking, Liliana crying, and a pin drop.  It was this intense feeling of knowing that so many people were seeing me interact with my family in that moment.  

Have you ever felt that way—that someone was watching you? Have you ever felt that way with God?  Or maybe you have felt the opposite: no one sees me, not even God.  

There is a specific place in the wilderness mentioned several times where God makes it very clear that He see us. 

The name of this place is called The Wilderness of Shur.  And I find it interesting that “Shur” means wall.  Walls can make it difficult for us to be seen.  And maybe you can relate to some of the walls these people have put up in their lives.  

In Genesis 16:7-14, we find Hagar running to the Wilderness of Shur.  

“Now the angel of the Lord found her by a spring of water in the wilderness, by the spring on the way to Shur. He said, “Hagar, Sarai’s slave woman, from where have you come, and where are you going?” And she said, “I am fleeing from the presence of my mistress Sarai.” So the angel of the Lord said to her, “Return to your mistress, and submit to her authority.” The angel of the Lord also said to her, “I will greatly multiply your descendants so that they will be too many to count.” The angel of the Lord said to her further, “Behold, you are pregnant, And you will give birth to a son; And you shall name him Ishmael, Because the Lord has heard your affliction. “But he will be a wild donkey of a man; His hand will be against everyone, And everyone’s hand will be against him; And he will live in defiance of all his brothers.” Then she called the name of the Lord who spoke to her, “You are a God who sees me”; for she said, “Have I even seen Him here and lived after He saw me?” Therefore the well was called Beer-lahai-roi; behold, it is between Kadesh and Bered.” ‭‭Genesis‬ ‭16‬:‭7‬-‭14‬ ‭NASB2020‬‬ 

Hagar was Sarai’s servant and “had been given” to Abram at Sarai’s command.  Abram slept with her and tensions arose between the two women.  So, Sarai treated her so harshly that Hagar ran away to the desert to get away from her.  The word for harshly in these verses refers to being afflicted, put down, made low, to become depressed and downcast.  And it is in this place, mentally, that she encounters God physically in the desert.  

It is in the difficult moments that God has a tendency to show up.  Abram and Sarai have made a mess of God’s plan for descendants, yet God still says He sees Hagar in her darkest moment.   He doesn’t fix her problem.  In fact, astonishingly, God tells Hagar to return to Sarai and submit to her authority.  Hagar is going to have exchange her pride for humility.  But maybe there is a peace within her that wasn’t there before, because God has seen her and she knows that now.  

Sometimes, when the Lord sees us, He will give us new wisdom and direction regarding a situation we are in.  He doesn’t change the situation, like He didn’t change it with Hagar, but her encounter with Him changed her so she could go back to what she was running away from.  Is there something in your life right now that you need new wisdom and direction for?  

In Genesis 20, we find Abram’s name has been changed to Abraham, and he has journeyed away from where Sodom and Gomorrah used to stand to the Wilderness of Shur.  

“Now Abraham journeyed from there toward the land of the Negev, and settled between Kadesh and Shur; then he lived for a time in Gerar. And Abraham said of his wife Sarah, “She is my sister.” So Abimelech king of Gerar sent men and took Sarah. But God came to Abimelech in a dream of the night, and said to him, “Behold, you are a dead man because of the woman whom you have taken, for she is married.” Now Abimelech had not come near her; and he said, “Lord, will You kill a nation, even though blameless? Did he himself not say to me, ‘She is my sister’? And she herself said, ‘He is my brother.’ In the integrity of my heart and the innocence of my hands I have done this.” Then God said to him in the dream, “Yes, I know that in the integrity of your heart you have done this, and I also kept you from sinning against Me; therefore I did not let you touch her. Now then, return the man’s wife, for he is a prophet, and he will pray for you and you will live. But if you do not return her, know that you will certainly die, you and all who are yours.”” ‭‭Genesis‬ ‭20‬:‭1‬-‭7‬ ‭NASB2020‬‬ 

And this is the place of Abraham’s Treachery.  He arrives in this place and King Abimelech sees Sarah (whose name has also been changed at this point) and wants to bring her into his harem.  He does, but before he does anything with her, God appears to the king in a dream, telling him she is a married woman.  King Abimelech and God have an exchange in this dream, because Abraham had hidden the fact that Sarah was his wife, so the king had no idea.  And God tells him, “I know that in the integrity of your heart you have done this, and I also kept you from sinning against Me.”  I absolutely love that God could see his heart and God intervened.  

Has that ever happened to you?  You were doing something that didn’t seem like an issue at all, but God intervened to prevent something horrible from happening?  I can think of so many times in my teenage years, when I was really naive that I went places with certain people, thinking nothing of it, and it could have been really, really terrible.  But God intervened every time, showing me He sees me through His protection. 

Sometimes, when the Lord sees us, He will intervene and prevent us from making a decision that could have long lasting effects, like he did with King Abimelech.  We have to be willing to heed his intervention and follow through with what He is leading us away from.  Is there something in your life right now that the Lord may be intervening for you on?  

In Exodus 15:22, we find the Israelites have just witnessed the complete destruction of the Egyptian Empire that they had been enslaved to for over 400 years, and the miracle of crossing the Red Sea on dry ground.  

“Then Moses led Israel from the Red Sea, and they went out into the wilderness of Shur; and they went three days in the wilderness and found no water. When they came to Marah, they could not drink the waters of Marah, because they were bitter; for that reason it was named Marah. So the people grumbled at Moses, saying, “What are we to drink?” Then he cried out to the Lord, and the Lord showed him a tree; and he threw it into the waters, and the waters became sweet. There He made for them a statute and regulation, and there He tested them.” ‭‭Exodus‬ ‭15‬:‭22‬-‭25‬ ‭NASB2020‬‬ 

There is this amazing worship and praise that happens. Then, they start walking into the desert Wilderness of Shur.  We live in a desert, and this is the very hot time of year.  After three days of being in this heat, I’m 100% sure I’d be complaining too.  They don’t have any water.  And finally, they come upon some water, but it is not drinkable.  The text says the water is bitter, or acidic.  The Israelite’s grumble to Moses, who cried out to the Lord.  There is contrast here.  The Israelites complain, growl, and express discontent in their situation.  Moses is in the same situation, yet he cries out to the Lord, meaning he is calling for help.  And it is that heart attitude that the Lord responds and tells Moses what to do.  He showed him a tree, and when that tree branch was thrown into the water, the waters became sweet so they could drink.

The Lord saw His people and their need for water.  And it is not lost on me that in their need, a tree provided living water to them, just like in my need, a tree provides living water for me.  The Lord sees us, and He sees our needs.  He has provided for us to be reconciled to him because of what Jesus did on a tree.  And when we cry out to him, not grumble, we are able to have the sweet living water that gives us life.  

Sometimes, when the Lord sees us, we don’t realize he sees us, and maybe it even seems like he has abandoned us in the hot, desolate, and dry desert.  But we have to trust His character, remembering what he has done for us not that long ago.  We can cry out to God and ask for His help, but it is our job to make sure we’re not grumbling to Him.  Is there something in your life right now that maybe you’ve been grumbling to the Lord about?  

Back at the visitor center, the Sinisi Squad walked out of there with a calmed down little girl, an understanding young boy, and no new atuffies.  I won’t ever see those people who saw me at the Visitor Center again, but I hope what they saw spoke to their hearts.  And regardless if it did or not, I know that God sees each of those people, just like he sees me, and he sees you.  As you go through the month of August, it is my prayer that you would encounter God in powerful ways, being reminded that not only does he love you, but he sees you.  

Arise in health and multiply in wholeness. 

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