Moving from Lake Mary to Houston was one of the hardest things I have ever done. I experienced the intense grief of leaving all that I knew and loved — family, close friendships, church, school, and a wonderful community. As you can imagine, Houston, TX is quite different than Lake Mary, FL. When they say everything is big in Texas, they are not kidding! This little Florida girl was a bit overwhelmed to say the least.
That hardest transition for me in the move was going from a place where I was known and loved to a place where I was not known and not yet loved. I never saw a familiar face. Everything and everyone was new and unknown. I felt unseen and very lonely. After being in a tight knit community for 16 years, this was quite a humbling experience for me.
This morning, my Scripture reading took me to Genesis 16. What a story! Actually, it reads more like a soap opera. Abram and Sarai are waiting and waiting and waiting on God for their promised child. In that waiting, Sarai grows impatient and comes up with a plan to help God — never a good thing by the way!
Sarai tells Abram to go to her servant Hagar so that they may conceive a child through her. Unlike Sarai, Hagar does conceive which sends Sarai into an outrage. It is hard to see others get what we so desperately long for. Poor Abram! He had an outraged wife and a pregnant servant. In his desperate attempt to bring some peace to the situation, Abram tells Sarai to do as she pleases with Hagar (a subject for another day). Sarai mistreats Hagar resulting in Hagar’s desperate attempt to escape her mistress.
In the midst of Hagar’s escape, she has a divine encounter. An angel of the Lord meets her by a spring of water and asks Hagar where she has come from and where she is going. The angel instructs Hagar to return to Sarai then speaks God’s blessings over her: “I will surely multiply your offspring so that they cannot be numbered for multitude” (16:10).
To say the least, Hagar was amazed at this encounter! I treasure Hagar’s exclamation after hearing this news: “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’” (Gen. 16:13).
“The God of seeing” — God saw Hagar. Not only did He see her, but He went after her. He had a good plan for Hagar and for the child that she carried as well as the many offspring to come. How good to be seen and known!
Leaving Genesis and going back to Houston. God saw me too. He walked with me and taught me so much during my time of loneliness and feeling unknown and unseen. I learned that God is enough for me. God took me a little deeper into some old wounds and applied his healing grace. Then, he blessed me with many wonderful new friends. These days, more often than not, I recognize some faces in Houston. I am no longer the unknown here. In the great scheme of things, I never was the unknown. Not to Him.
I wonder, do you ever feel unseen—unseen by your spouse, your children, the people at work or at church? It is a painful place to be. Acknowledge that pain then take it to the Lord. Our God is a God of seeing. He sees you; He knows you; and He has an abundant plan for your life!
“O LORD, you have searched me and known me! You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from afar. You search out my path and my lying down and are acquainted with all my ways” (Psalm 139:1-3).