Have you ever felt lost, even as you were in a large crowd, almost like you were invisible? Have you ever felt alone and isolated, seemingly forgotten, as if “out of sight, out of mind” was really true? Today we want to share the story of a woman from the Old Testament who felt that way, until she had an encounter with God.
The woman is Hagar. You probably know the story of Abraham and Sarah. In Genesis chapter 15 God promised Abraham that He would bless him and make him into a great nation. In fact, God promised Abraham that his descendents would outnumber the stars. Ten years passed and Abraham and his wife Sarah were still childless. So, like most of us would do, they began to question whether God was faithful, and they decided to take matters into their own hands. Sarah had an Egyptian maidservant named Hagar. In Genesis chapter 16 the story continues, and we read that Sarah tells Abraham to sleep with Hagar and perhaps it would be through Hagar that God would fulfill his promise of making a great nation. Abraham slept with Hagar and she got pregnant, and as you might imagine, this caused great tension. Sarah began to mistreat Hagar so Hagar packed her bags and headed back to her homeland. In the ancient Middle East, women got their value through their husband. Women were not held in high esteem at all, but a married woman held more value in society than a single woman, and an unmarried pregnant maidservant would only be valued slightly more than the dung from the donkey on which she rode. So here we have this unmarried pregnant maidservant sitting alone in the desert, likely feeling very scared and very alone. It is here that as Hagar sat alone near a spring in the desert that an angel of the Lord shows up and has a conversation with her. And it is also here that Hagar comes to the realization that she is not invisible or forgotten, and she says this, “You are the God who sees me, for she said, I have now seen the one who sees me (Gen 16:13).” Wow, imagine the joy in knowing that God Himself sees you!
Psalm 139:13-16 puts it like this, “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.”
So today, whether you feel lost in a crowd of sixty thousand people or alone in the desert, please hear this… God loves you, and not only that, He knows you, He sees you, He cares for you, and He has plans for you. And just like Hagar, regardless of your current situation or circumstances, right here, right now, God says to you, “I see you!”
If you are like most people, your refrigerator is full of pictures of the people most special to you. So we will end with this, your picture is on God’s refrigerator!