Have you ever felt like you were in a spiritual rut? There’s a certain dullness as you pray and read the Bible? I felt like that recently as I put all my efforts into the daily reading of God’s Word. I was struggling as I read passage after passage because I didn’t seem to find what my soul was thirsty for. I was troubled because 2 Timothy 3:16-17 tells us that, “All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. God uses it to prepare and equip his people to do every good work.”
It wasn’t that I needed to be convinced that through reading the Bible I would find guidance and hope. However, I felt empty even as I read Scripture. One thing I’ve learned in my walk with God is to push through these moments. One day in frustration, I prayed and asked God to help me see Him in the strings of letters, words, and chapters. I didn’t want to continue to read or listen without being involved in His loving message. The struggle continued until a few words grabbed hold of my heart – “She said, “You are the God who sees me” (Genesis 3:16b).
“She said, “You are the God who sees me” (Genesis 3:16b)
I stopped reading and started seeing. The woman who said these words was none other than Hagar – the mother of Ishmael, a slave Egyptian woman, a servant of Sarah and concubine to Abraham, a foreigner, a woman with no rights, privileges nor status. Judging from the many different color highlighters I had used around this particular story, I realized that I had glossed over these words many times over.
As I began to read over and over again, I saw how important Hagar’s words were. As you may know, it’s important to understand the background of any event to understand it better. The backdrop to Hagar’s revelation is based on Sarah and Abraham’s desperation. They had lost hope of the promise of having a child – having descendants as numerous as the stars and the sands on the seashore seemed unreachable as they grew older and older. In hopelessness, Sarah gave Hagar, her servant, to Abraham so that through her they would have a son. Hagar grew prideful when she realized she was pregnant and Sarah acted aggressively towards her causing Hagar to run away.
Hagar, now a runaway, is met by the angel of the Lord at a spring of water. At first reading one may miss this very special occasion. Up to this point, there is no record in the Bible of anyone being in the presence of the Lord, but Hagar, the slave, hears him and speaks to him. Our compassionate God saw her and met her in the midst of her pain. As she sat by the well, seeking answers, the angel of the Lord gave her what she truly needed. What did she need?
She desired to be seen for who she was, a desire many of us share. God, the “One who sees me”, came to Hagar and this encounter changed her. God told her to return to Sarah and to obey her, but He also gave her hope for the future and the child within her. Hagar’s circumstances did not change, but a word from God was enough to help her push through the challenges.
As I studied this encounter, I was motivated to continue to press in and seek God through His Word and to remember that no matter what I’ve done, He is the “Living One Who sees me” and His grace and mercy are never too far away. He sees you too and He desires to tell you of His perfect plans for your life. Keep seeking Him and press on in reading God’s Word. I pray that as you do, you will have many moments when He jumps out of the pages to quench your thirst for Him.