From the Pew

The Lord Who Sees

Sylvia Siu
22 May 2023

We all know the story of Sarah, the barren wife of Abraham, who at ripe old age of 90 gave birth to a son called Issac. Isaac, with his wife Rebekah, fathered Esau and Jacob. Jacob later became known as Israel, and fathered 12 sons, the 12 tribes of Israel.

But Abraham had other sons – his first son was born to Hagar, Sarah’s Egyptian slave girl. It’s safe to assume that Hagar had no choice in the matter. She did not choose to be Sarah’s slave girl, nor did she choose to enter Abraham’s tent and conceive his child. After Hagar conceived, Sarah felt that Hagar was being contemptuous, and so she dealt with her servant harshly. Hurt, exhausted, oppressed and pregnant, Hagar ran away. She fled into the wilderness and was met with an Angel of the Lord, at a spring of water.

The Angel of the Lord called Hagar to return to her mistress, promising that not only would her son live, but that he would father a great nation with many descendants.

The Angel said to her, “you shall name him Ishmael, for the Lord has heard your misery.”

And then, Hagar gave this name to the Lord who spoke to her. ‘“You are the God who sees me.” For she said, “I have now seen the One who sees me.”’

There is beautiful reciprocity here, as the Lord names Hagar’s son, and then Hagar, in turn, names the Lord. The Lord named the child “Ishmael”, which means “the Lord hears”. And Hagar named the Lord, “El Roi”, “the God who sees me”.

Years later, after Sarah finally conceived her own child, she sent Hagar and Ishmael back into the wilderness. Destitute and homeless, Hagar held on to the promises of the Lord, and called upon El Roi, “the Lord who sees me”. Even when no one else could see her, when she was powerless and hopeless and lost in the wilderness, Hagar knew there was a God who could see her and cared for her.

Of course, we don’t want to draw a false equivalence between Hagar’s experience as a slave girl and our own circumstances today as mothers. But the truth remains. If the Lord saw Hagar, a destitute slave girl in the wilderness, than he sees you, today..

On Mother’s Day we say to our mothers, “we see you”, with vases full of flowers, breakfast in bed and warm hugs and smiles from doting children. But the Lord sees you, dear mothers, each and every day. He sees as you fold load after load after load of laundry. He sees you as you sacrifice your sleep for your hungry infant or crying toddler. He sees you as you stand over the stove, only to have your meal offerings plastered on the walls and thrown under chairs. He sees you, managing budgets and spending, giving up your own desires so your children have everything they need.

He hears you, as you cry out for His wisdom as you care for your wayward children. He sees you, single mothers, as you tirelessly strive to be both father and mother, in your children’s lives. He sees you, adoptive and step-mothers, as you faithfully raise the children you have received into your home and your heart. He hears you weeping in the night for your sick child. He sees your tears, for the child you have had to bury. He sees you, waiting by the phone for a call or text from your children who have all but forgotten you.

And for those of you, this Mother’s Day, mourning the loss of your own mother, the Lord sees you too. He sees you as you grieve the dysfunctional relationship you endured with your own mother. He sees you as your own unmet desires to have your own children are even more painful today. Wherever you are, and whatever your burden, the Lord sees you.

And he has not left you without hope. Just as Hagar was called to keep pressing on in obedience, despite her circumstances, so too does He call you to keep pressing on in obedience in your circumstances. We press on in obedience as the knowledge and certainty that the Lord who sees you and who hears you also loves you and walks alongside you

Even on the days when there are no flowers in vases, no breakfast in bed, no warm hugs and smiles from doting children, the Lord sees you.

This article is available to listen to on the podcast, More Than A Cake Stall

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