You Are The God Who Sees Me

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Genesis 16:13… Thereafter, Hagar used another name to refer to the LORD, who had spoken to her. She said, “You are the God who sees me.”

I watched a movie the other night about a woman named Kate who suffered with ALS, a debilitating disease, and my mind went to the Biblical account of Hagar. Although the movie centers around the life of living with ALS and its effects of gradual loss of function, there was a subplot that caught my attention. 

See, Kate was a classical pianist and had dreams of continuing in this field. During her time as a pianist, Kate met two men. One of the men was also a musician and the other was a successful business man with high aspirations for a lavish life. Kate married the latter and although their life appeared to be good, when Kate was diagnosed with ALS, the fractures in their marriage began to show. Long story short, Kate had given up playing the piano for the life she chose and although her husband took care of her for as long as he could, the truth was, he didn’t really ‘see her’. He had an image that he had created of her, but it wasn’t who she really was and honestly, she had given up who she really was for a life that she thought she wanted. The other man that was also a musician ’saw her’.  He saw who she really was, but she married for other reasons. There was a quote in the movie by Kate as she was talking to her young female caregiver that directed my thoughts to the story of Hagar, Sarai, and Abram:

“Why is it that we want the ones that don’t see us, instead of the ones that do?”

As soon as I heard this phrase, my thoughts went to the verse in Genesis 16:13 that says, “You are the God who sees me.” There is a storyline here that follows the path of unbelief, doubt, discouragement, hopelessness, trying to help God out on His promise, and even resentment, pride and anger. In a nutshell, the Lord had promised Abram (before his name was changed to Abraham) that he would be the father of many nations. It had been ten years of waiting to have a child. Sarai (also before her name change) began to lose hope in the promise that she would have a child so she told Abram to go lie with Hagar in order to bring forth a child. Hagar conceived and after the conception, she began to treat Sarai with contempt. In return, Sarai began to treat Hagar so harshly that she eventually ran away. Such a crazy storyline really and there are many different messages within this chapter but for the sake of this writing, let’s focus on what happens after Hagar runs away.

Hagar was found by the angel of the Lord beside a spring in the wilderness. In the midst of their conversation, Hagar was told to go back and submit to the authority of Sarai, but with a promise that she would be given more descendants than she could count. She was told that she would have a son and she was to name him Ishmael, which means God hears, “for the Lord has heard your cry of distress.” Hagar took this even further by declaring that “You are the God who sees me.”

See, in the midst of all the events surrounding the conception of Ishmael, God saw Hagar. After conceiving, she began to treat Sarai with contempt. It’s possible that she began to feel more important for having been able to conceive and began to look down upon Sarai for her inability to conceive. That, after all, is the meaning of contempt: the feeling that another is beneath, worthless, or deserving of scorn. Obviously, that was the wrong attitude to take, yet at the same time, Sarai and Abram agreed to this plan. One can only wonder what Sarai was feeling that may have been compounded by the treatment of Hagar. Harsh treatment ensues and Hagar runs away. Imagine for a minute if you will, this crazy story of Sarai trying to help God fulfill His word, bringing Hagar into the plan, then turning on the very one that you brought into the plan that you devised. 

This is where we find Hagar by the spring in the wilderness. Alone, probably scared and uncertain. Wondering what she will do now with a baby on the way. Where will she go, how will she live. What even happened?? Can you imagine her thinking? She was brought into this plan and everything had gone wrong. Does anyone see me??

In the midst of whatever she was pondering, we do know that in verse 11, the angel states that the Lord had heard her distress. Distress means extreme anxiety, sorrow or pain. That sounds pretty intense, don’t you think? We can only imagine what that looked like for Hagar because we aren’t given the full account of her feelings, but distress is stated in verse 11 and it was real. It was the total of all of her feelings, doubts, fears, sorrow, anxiety, worries and everything in between and how she was viewed by others in the midst of it all. Pregnant, unmarried and on the run.

Isn’t this us somewhere along the line? How often are our circumstances confusing or maybe they seem to be going the opposite direction of the Word of the Lord. Maybe we have prophetic words or promises and everything seems to be going opposite of the promise. What if our circumstances take a turn that are anything less than desirable? Fears, anxieties, worries, doubts, uncertainties, feelings of abandonment or loneliness, being misunderstood and truly ‘unseen’. Yeah, people may pass us each day, but are we really seen? Do they know our heart, can they see the deep places that hide in the crevices that are hard to articulate at times? Can they see past our exterior and our actions to see the person that truly lies underneath? Are we treated harshly in the midst of doing life? Maybe we’re seen by how others want to see us, rather than for who we really are? Are we treating others with contempt due to our pride becoming central because we finally feel we have purpose? Maybe we’re hurt and angry, sad and full of fear. Maybe, just maybe, we really just desire to know that we are seen for who we really are… understood… known.

Hagar’s words, “You are the God who sees me” hold so much more meaning than just being seen by the spring in the wilderness. I believe it means that she was ‘known’. In her distress, she was seen… she was known by the Lord. One of the hardest things in this life is walking through hard times and wondering if we are actually seen and known in the midst of it all. It’s easy to feel forgotten, overlooked, passed by, and to fall into distress. The state of anxiety, sorrow or pain that life has a tendency to pull us into at times. It’s then that we try to work things out ourselves, devise plans, take matters into our own hands. We cry out for someone to hear, someone to see, someone to act. This whole story is about this very thing. Yet, in the end, we come to find that there is One who truly sees… the Lord.

Today, as we ponder the depths of this story, let’s make it a declaration today:


I am known by you.. truly known. My way is not hidden from you. You hem me in behind and before (Psalm 139:5).

I call on the Lord in my distress and he answers me (Psalm 120:1). 

Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known (1 Cor. 13:12). 

It’s in those times that we cry out to the Lord, that we can be confident that He hears us, He sees us and we are fully known by Him. What confidence that brings to the human heart even in the midst of difficult times. We can so easily be flipped outside of this confidence when we give way to our circumstances, thoughts and feelings. At the base of every wrong thought, every lie, doubt, fear, insecurity, anxiety, and everything else, is the idea that we aren’t seen or heard. We’ve been taught to take care of ourselves. We try to earn what has been freely provided to us by His death, burial and resurrection. We are now His children.. you are HIs son, His daughter. But the great thing is this, He is the perfect Father. He has your best interest at heart and although life happens, it’s in the midst of life that we truly find Him.

We learn about His great love for us and how His heart breaks when ours is broken. So much so that He collects our tears in a bottle. You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book (Psalm 56:8). The nature of God is beyond our comprehension. But, listen, every time you go through something, He is there. He sees you with your heart broken, He sees your disappointment, He sees it all. None of it escapes His sight. He even sees our greatest joys. I think sometimes we just need to be reminded that He really is there… always… even in the dark moments where we feel like we are barely moving. He is there.  

Come back to this Truth. Stay there. Even if you don’t feel it. He is a good, good Father and every good and perfect gift comes down from the Father of Lights who does not change like shifting shadows (James 1:17).

Sometimes it’s in the places of uncertainty or the hard places, that the Truth that He is the God who sees you becomes real to us. In the midst of it all…

He truly sees you…

He truly knows you…

He will meet you by the spring in the wilderness…

Just hold on…

Deidre Gaines resides in West Virginia with her husband and best friend, Richard. She has three grown children and one granddaughter.  Deidre is a Licensed Minister, Prophetic intercessor, blogger (Shamar), speaker and encourager with a heart to see the nature of Jesus put on display for the world to see.  She is passionate to see His love, unity, presence, power and authority transform hearts, cities, regions and the nations through bringing glory and honor to His name. Deidre desires to see the church walk in the fullness of His Kingdom come, His will be done, on earth as it is in heaven, Matthew 6:10. She enjoys spending time with her family, sports, crocheting and being outdoors. Especially taking rides in the side by side with her husband Richard.

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