“Now you have conceived and shall bear a son;
you shall call him Ishmael,
for the Lord has given heed to your affliction.
He shall be a wild ass of a man,
with his hand against everyone,
and everyone’s hand against him;
and he shall live at odds with all his kin.”
So she named the Lord who spoke to her, “You are El-roi”; for she said, “Have I really seen God and remained alive after seeing him?” Therefore the well was called Beer-lahai-roi; it lies between Kadesh and Bered.” (New Revised Standard Version)
It wasn’t easy being Hagar. The servant of Sarah, who was the wife of Abraham, had a tough gig. Not only was Hagar bound as a servant, she was mistreated. But God specializes in hard cases.
God sees everything. He saw Hagar’s adverse living condition. And God did something about it. He came alongside Hagar and spoke a promise to her that she could hold onto. It was a promise that was way beyond what she could have dreamed of, far above her station in life.
Hagar gave a name to God. “El Roi” means “the God who sees.” What a great name! At a low point in Hagar’s life when it seemed that she was a nobody, unseen and only enduring affliction, God showed up and let her know that she is seen by him.
I’m sure there have been times in your life, just like there have been situations in my life, where you wonder if anybody sees you, including God. You feel if you stepped off the earth today that nobody would even notice. To not be seen by another is one of the saddest realities of living in this fallen world full of people too busy and too self-immersed to notice another human being.
Conversely, to be seen brings wonder, joy, and awe into life. To know that God sees you is to be transported into the garden with him, enjoying his presence and his fellowship.
You are not alone. God sees you. He knows your every move. God watches because God loves and adores you. Our God is not a god who is aloof and distant. He looks upon you and me with the kind of affection a new parent has standing over the crib of his infant child. It’s a look of care, protection, joy, pride, and compassion.
One of the most fundamental theological statements we could say about God is: He sees each individual human, and he cares. Yes, terrible tragedies and gut-wrenching evil exist in this world. God does have his anger and wrath. Yet, God’s wrath exists because of his love. He is not okay with evil, and he will do something about it; and, he will do it in his own good timing.
God is working out his purposes, and he will judge the living and the dead. But he has not forgotten you. God sees you, created in his image and likeness, and he will act.