Are You Even There, God?
She gave this name to the Lord who spoke to her: “You are the God who sees me,” for she said, “I have now seen[a] the One who sees me.” Genesis 16:13 (NIV)
I’m always hesitant to write of my own life trials because I know something of your trials. Many of you have been through – or are going through – far worse things than me and I don’t want to be like that couple without children who tells other couples how to parent. Additionally, my worst life trials have largely been self-inflicted, which makes me feel a little disingenuous to write about the struggles you’ve experienced, through no fault of your own. Still, I must address the passage, so I’ll stick to my appropriate response to life’s trials.
I’ve been there, in that place where it seems God is blind and deaf, or maybe he doesn’t even exist. I’ve asked God for something that I believe must be good and right. Make me hate drugs. How could you not want that God? In the absence of an answer and in the misery of my addiction, it seemed like God simply wasn’t there. Those have been the times when I’ve questioned my faith the most – When life hasn’t gone the way I’ve planned, and God hasn’t fixed it for me.
This is where Hagar found herself in today’s passage. Hagar was the servant of Sarai, Abram’s wife. Sarai, who was infertile, hatched a scheme for her husband to impregnate Hagar, so their bloodline could continue. Jealousy erupted once Hagar was pregnant though and so Sarai abused her, causing her to run away. In the wilderness, and in her distress, God came to Hagar, comforting her, telling her that her son would become a great people. Hagar then referred to God as the God who sees me. In her affliction, Hagar must have felt utterly alone. God though, saw her and consoled her. He didn’t remove life’s trials, but he did go with her, comforting her.
I question God most when life doesn’t go my way. That’s more than a little self-centered. I believe in God through terrible disasters that happen to everyone else. When my life is a little inconvenienced though, suddenly I question God’s character and even his existence. God however, sees me and my struggles. He doesn’t necessarily iron out all the wrinkles of my life, but he does go with me. Faith doesn’t mean I’ll have no struggles in life. Faith means that I can live in a loving relationship with the father that the world cannot touch. It means he sees me and comforts me and that I can know life, joy, and peace, despite life’s trials. God sees me.