Well I thought my study of the Names of God had just about come to a close - I thought - but I didn't really seek out God's thoughts on the matter at all. Over the weekend I finished my through the Bible in a year reading goal, and it only took me 18 months! While mulling over what to do next, I was inspired to once again start at the beginning - so look out Genesis here I come :-) It was there I discovered not one but two more names I had not yet had the chance to meditate on.
The first was in Genesis 16. Hagar is being treated horribly by Sarai. Sarai had decided to move ahead of God's perfect timing regarding the covenant child that had been promised to her and her husband Abram. Sarai became impatient and insisted that her maidservant sleep with Abram so that they might conceive a child. Sarai suggested it and Abram agreed - what was he thinking? Now, I am guessing that Hagar had no say in the matter. She was a servant, and in that time there were no rights allowed to servants - they did as they were instructed. Hagar slept with her bosses husband, got pregnant and then got bitter. I can understand that. Sarai also got jealous and bitter - after getting exactly what she had asked for. Sarai is unhappy, Hagar is unhappy, and my guess would be that Abram was not very happy either. Sarai began to make Hagar's life miserable, so Hagar fled. She ran away from her persecutor and ran straight into an encounter with an angel of the Lord. God knew her circumstance, understood her heartache and frustration and yet He still had a plan for her and her unborn child. "she gave this name to the Lord who spoke to her 'You are the God who sees me; I have now seen the One who sees me' "
I find great comfort here, as I am reminded that God is is aware of my every need; He is all present, all knowing and all understanding. God sees more, knows more and understands more than I ever will. What I can understand is only a result of the gift of understanding that God has given to me. How arrogant of me to think and behave like there are things I need to explain to God. Sarai thought she knew her need (and how to meet that need) better than God, so she set out on a path of her own. It was a path that lead straight to heartache and destruction. I need to be wise enough to learn from the mistakes of my Old Testament sister - or I will also surely face the disastrous consequences of my own plans. I can also learn from Hagar. God met with Hagar, and revealed His intimate knowledge of her circumstance; but then God sent her back and instructed her to have a right attitude toward the woman who was so horrible to her. There is every indication that things stayed tense between Hagar and Sarai. Sarai had no love for Hagar's child. I am not sure there was any visible improvement in Hagar's situation after her encounter with God - but Hagar was changed. Like Hagar, in the midst of my most challenging circumstances, is the thing God wants to change most me? Will there be no visible change in the details of my life? Will the difficult people remain difficult? Will the health issues remain? If work, and family, and church, and friends, and finances all stay the same, can I still believe that God is El Roi - the God who sees my need, is constantly present and completely knowing and understanding?
God grow my faith and trust today. Thank you God for seeing me, and thank you concerning Yourself with my needs today. Amen.