Do you ever have those moments when you feel like God is not hearing and/or understanding you? Alone? Abandoned? Forgotten? Misunderstood? Or is that just me?
I recently lived through a season like this. I didn’t understand why life was not going in the direction I had prayed for. I had just come back from a missionary trip, ready to settle back at home, get a job, etc., but for some reason, every avenue I pursued was a dead end. I received rejection letter after rejection letter, leading me to a an abundance of negative thoughts about my worth.
After being a missionary teacher for almost two years in South Korea, I knew for sure I was done with teaching. Instead, I was ready to do something related to what I studied in university – to become a business analyst for an international firm. I was ready for my life to begin. But, God had other plans for me.
This season of my life reminded me of the story of Hagar (Genesis 16), Sarah’s maid who became pregnant with Ishmael. Hagar had no choice in the matter, but to have a child with Abraham. In the end, she lost favor in her mistress’s eyes and was cast out of the camp into the hot dessert sun – pregnant and alone. When she had nothing left, an Angel came to Hagar to remind her the Lord was watching over her.
Then the Angel of the Lord said to her, “I will multiply your descendants exceedingly, so that they shall not be counted for multitude.” -Genesis 16:10
Hagar was an Egyptian, so she had only gotten to know this God through Abraham. So in that moment, Hagar named God the only way she could – through this encounter with Him.
She named her Rescuer “EL ROI”: the God who saw her.
Someone once said to me, “The best way for you to know who God is, is to experience Him for yourself.” Hagar’s experience with God at that moment of desperation moved her to a deeper understanding of who God was, EL ROI, the God who saw her in her moment of desperation.
“Lord help my unbelief,” I prayed these simple words someone had once taught me. I needed a reminder of who God was in my life. The amazing thing about my precious Lord is that no matter how I am feeling at any particular time, He meets my needs. So, I asked God to reveal Himself to me.
And, I began experiencing the love of God unfold in my life in the most simplest of ways.
For example, one evening when I was feeling especially sad, someone called me out of nowhere and gratefully explained about how important I was to her and how much God loves me. God took time out of His busy schedule just to send that message to me – I mattered to Him; to the people in my life.
Although none of my problems were solved right away, I was filled with a peace I could not explain or understand. Slowly but surely, God was changing my heart, lifting my unbelief, and restoring my faith.
I still had doubts though, but God met me in the midst of my worry and revealed His greatness. Suddenly, things started falling into place and my path into teaching became a clear one.
God showed me that the time I had spent at home unemployed had in fact been a much needed blessing in my life. I needed that time out to reflect on the work I had just finished, and to prepare for the next stage of my life. I also hadn’t been home for almost two years and craved that time to reconnect with my family in a way I wouldn’t have been able to had I come back home and gone straight into a job.
That’s how great my God is. God sees us, meets us where we are and restores us to where He has called us to be.
God does not change. He is still EL ROI, the God who sees you and I. He sees us when we are joyful and He rejoices with us. He sees us when are down, and He comforts us. He is forever watching over us – giving us direction, strength and Love.
This truth is so amazing and humbling to me. Who am I that the King of heaven and earth would care enough to watch over me in all my worries and messes?
Hagar’s story is a beautiful reminder of God’s love for us – imperfect human beings in every way. So, next time you feel alone, or you struggle with unbelief; next time you are hurting or feel abandoned, just remember El Roi is watching over you with love.
You shall be okay, because the God who sees you is also the God who loves you.
Images courtesy of Nomsa.