Sunday, May 8, 2011

Somebody Is Watching

She was running. What was she running from? What was she running to?

I don’t know about you, but in the month of May I feel like a chicken running around with my head cut off especially since I’m single parenting. Field trips, musicals, ball games, and end of the year parties fill my calendar. Graduations, summer planning, and visits to see daddy are being put on the calendar as well. Do you ever feel like you are living out of your car and that your children feel like fast food is a staple instead of an exception?

Some people are choosing to run from their past – past relationships, past mistakes, past choices…just the past in general. Some people are running to something they think is better or someone who is going to be more wonderful than who they have now. Some people are running and don’t have a clue where they are going.

The first name of God I want to study is a name given to Him by a woman on the run. She was running from a past she hadn’t chosen, but rather it had been inflicted upon her. She was running from her past mistake and choices of behavior – her sin. We aren’t sure exactly where she was running because she never gets there, but many assume she was running to a life of sin. She was also an expectant mom under stress. Her name – Hagar.

Just a little background on Hagar. In Genesis 15 God promised Abram he would be the father of a great nation, and with Abram and Sarai (his only wife) being quite old and getting older by the minute, Sarai took matters into her own hands. As if God didn’t have it under control! (And who hasn’t done that before?) Sarai told Abram to take her slave Hagar and have children. In that time, Sarai could have assumed the role of mother, but as we see instead of Hagar staying a slave, she was made his wife. When Hagar who through no choice of her own became pregnant with Abram’s son, she began to despise Sarai. What was Hagar’s choice was her behavior. She made Sarai’s life miserable rubbing the pregnancy in her face. Sarai ran to Abram and told him it was all his fault. Ain’t that just like us – poor Abram couldn’t win for losing! Abram returned Hagar to her servant status, and Sarai began to abuse her. This is the point in which Hagar ran.

For a moment put yourself in Hagar’s shoes. Humbly serving her mistress only to be taken by her husband and made a wife. Most likely Hagar would be considerably younger than Sarai…maybe even young enough to be her granddaughter. From servant to a place in her owner’s house – like an unexpected promotion with benefits. Once in her new position, she became proud and rubbed it in the face of the one who promoted her – not wise in any circumstance. Then Hagar was demoted to servant again where she was abused. Possibly in fear, resentment, or anger, she ran, and an angel found her near a pool in the dessert. In the middle of her stress, of her emotional roller coaster, of her storm-tossed life, God sends an angel. If God sent an angel to you right now in your life, what in the world would you be thinking and feeling!? Me? I’d probably be thinking, “I don’t have time for this,” or “I didn’t realize I was this close to a nervous breakdown.” When I get so busy running it’s easy for me to overlook things like my time with God. Sometimes He has to make His presence known in such a real way that we are set back on our haunches.

The angel says, “Hagar.” (He KNOWS her name like He KNOWS your name.) He says, “Hagar, slave of Sarai.” (He’s reminding her of her place in this life – OUCH!) “Where have you come from and where are you going?” Genesis 16:8 HCSB. He knows full good and well where she’s been and where she’s going, so why ask?

When we are running around willy-nilly, we lose sight of where we’ve been and where we’re going. The angel of the Lord sends Hagar back to Abram and Sarai with a blessing. Her son will be Ishamael (the founder of the Islamic faith), and her descendents will be too many to count. Sound like the promise God made to Abram, doesn’t it? But it’s not the same.

After receiving a blessing and having a conversation with the angel of the Lord, Hagar agrees to return, but before she does, she called God the name El Roi – the God Who Sees Me.

In all of your running last week and the weeks to come, in all the stressors of your life whether it is from decisions you’ve made or not, GOD SEES YOU. Ann Spangler writes, “When you pray to El Roi, you are praying to the one who knows EVERYTHING about you” (16). She found grace and mercy in the presence of the Lord. Some other verses you may want to look up and meditate on are Psalms 33:13-22, Psalms 121:3, 5-8, and Proverbs 15:3.

I hope you find comfort like I do in the fact that no matter how crazy and chaotic, stressful and nerve-wracking my life may become my God sees me for who I am, where I am, where I’ve been and where I’m going. AND He meets me where I am looking past my defenses and barriers. PLUS He loves me enough to return me back to the path to which He has called me.

Can you imagine the joy Hagar felt knowing that El Roi saw her for who she was, where she was and how she was? Maybe even relief.

When you pray to El Roi, thank Him for seeing you because in seeing you, you realize you are important to Him.

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