So she called the name of the Lord who spoke to her, “You are a God of seeing,” for she said, “Truly here I have seen him who looks after me.” (Genesis 16:13)
God hears and sees you in the midst of your pain, and will always look after you. No matter what your grief, loss, or even fear, he knows every part of it. He loves you with an everlasting love. He will always be with you.
A tender example of the watch-care of God is found in the life of Hagar, the Egyptian handmaid of Sarai, and mother of Ishmael. God had promised Abram and Sarai a son in their later years, but they became impatient. Instead of waiting for the blessing of conception, they doubted God. Sarai, especially. So she took matters into her own hands.
She brought Hagar to her husband, and urged him to conceive a child through her, as sort of a surrogate. Lo and behold, that’s exactly what happened. But this did not make Sarai happy. On the contrary, she became jealous, “looked with contempt on her mistress,” and treated her so harshly that Hagar became fearful and ran away (Genesis 16:4-6). But “the angel of the Lord found her by a spring of water in the wilderness” (Genesis 16:7).
In the Old Testament, “the angel of the Lord” refers to deity. This is an Old Testament appearance of the Son of God. As such, Christ directed her to return to her mistress Sarai, and promised to multiply her son’s offspring into a new nation. Ishmael, the name given by the angel, means “God will hear.”
His name would be a daily reminder that God took notice of Hagar’s pain.
Comforted by these words from God, Hagar gives the Lord a new name, El Roi, or “God of seeing,” and names the well Beer-lahai-roi, which means “well of the Loving One who sees me” (Genesis 16:13-14).
This same God hears and sees you. He is fully aware of all that threatens your wellbeing.
Jesus gives the same assurance to you when he declares your value to be greater than that of other creatures. In this case, sparrows. Not a single one “is forgotten before God.” If the situation of every single bird never escapes the notice of God, just think of how much he knows about yours! His knowledge of your life situation extends even to the number of hairs on your head. And through it all, the Lord says “you are of more value than many sparrows” (Luke 12:6-7).
The book of Hebrews gives another, related guarantee to the believer. The more we learn to rest in God as our caretaker, the more we are comforted by the words of Jesus, “I will never leave you nor forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5).
God sees you. He sees your pain. He sees your loss. He knows your hurts. He is looking after you. And he will never leave you.
[An edited version of this post is now part of the forthcoming devotional, A Small Book for the Hurting Heart.]