I’ve been reminded of this study… inspired to maybe do it again?!... as I’ve been reading through Genesis because so many of the names used to describe God are first encountered in this book. Genesis is a book of beginnings and introductions, so it’s only natural that through the telling of history unfolding, God’s presence in this world would also unfold. There are names like Jehovah-Jireh (“the Lord will provide”), El Elyon (“the most high God”), El Shaddai (“God almighty”), and Elohim (“Creator God”). These are names of God that I know and have clung to in the past. There is something old and comfortable about them.
This time, though, I’ve been intrigued with another name of God in Genesis… one that I haven’t really noticed before… it’s a name that Hagar calls Him during one of the lowest and loneliness times of her life. She calls God El Roi, which means “the God who sees me.” The original Hebrew connotation for the word “sees” runs deeper than mere visual acknowledgement, though. It literally means that He knows and understands in a deeply personal way. Hagar felt rejected, abused, unloved, and completely distraught… running from her past, but hopeless about her future… she was stuck. God met her in that desert place to speak to her fears and insecurities. Her response was one of awe and relief that she wasn’t alone after all. The living God not only saw her pain, but He was meeting her in it.
It’s ironic that in an age where we’re more connected to each other than ever… cell phones, email, facebook, texting, twitter… there’s still this prevalent feeling of being alone and being misunderstood. We crave relationship and we crave value. God longs to meet these two basic human needs if we would just stop running and look to Him. He is El Roi… He sees us, He knows us, He understands where we’re at and what we’re going through. We are always seen, and we are always heard. What a beautiful thing.
May we be encouraged by this facet of who God is… He is the God who sees us. He is always present… always engaged… and always wanting to answer the silent prayers of our heart.