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O Lord, you have examined my heart and know everything about me. You know when I sit down or stand up. You know my thoughts even when I’m far away. You see me when I travel and when I rest at home. You know everything I do.” (Psalm 139:1-3 NLT)

When I was very young, I would feel threatened when meeting new people, or being in a new situation. I would resort to an escape technique. Elbow up, I would put my whole arm in front of my face. Under the cover of my arm I could hide; no one could see me. So I thought.

Hagar, Sarai’s servant, resorted to a different escape technique. Pregnant with Abram’s child, she scorned and mocked Sarai, whose idea it was to have a child through her servant. Sarai retaliated by treating Hagar so harshly that she ran away from her mistress. In the wilderness the Lord knew all about her predicament, and advised her to return to her mistress and submit to her.

Thereafter, Hagar used another name to refer to the Lord, who had spoken to her. She said, ‘You are the God who sees me’ [Hebrew El Roi] She also said, ‘Have I truly seen the One who sees me?'” (Genesis 16:13 NLT)

Just as the people surrounding me really could see me when I hid under my arm, so the Lord had his eye on Hagar, when she thought she was alone in her trouble.

Although God is always watching over us, we often fail to see Him working in our lives. At the YWAM (Youth With a Mission) base in Belize in the fall of 2016, one of my assigned tasks was baking, a challenge in a tropical climate. I had made several recipes with the wrong kind of shortening, and cookies spread all over the baking sheet. One day, as I again perused the shelves of the store room, my eye landed on a can of Crisco, a vegetable-based lard substitute that stays solid at room temperature. It had been there the whole time! Crisco is not an ingredient I had ever baked with, but when I tried it, the results were fantastic! Blinded by my inadequacies, I hadn’t seen God’s provision.

The troublesome relationship between Sarah (God had changed her name and given her a son in her old age) and her servant, Hagar, continued when Hagar returned. Abraham, (his new name reflected the covenant God had made with him) under pressure from his wife, Sarah, regretfully sent Hagar and her son, Ishmael, away. Again, she wandered in the desert. When her water was gone, Hagar couldn’t bear to watch her son die. Blinded by her tears, she saw no way out of her plight. Again, the Lord was watching over her, and told her to open her eyes. When Hagar looked up, she saw a well with water in it. This moment was a turning point for her and Ishmael. He didn’t die, but grew up to be a skilled archer in the wilderness, and became a founder of a large nation.

El Roi always sees us and knows our needs; we just need to look up and see His provision.

Prayer: El-roi, the God Who sees us, may we open our eyes and look up to see Your work on our behalf. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.

Alice Burnett
Red Deer, AB, Canada

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