God Sees

God Sees – Even in a Pandemic

By Dr. Laurel Shaler

A lot has changed since the days of Hagar. While on the surface we seemingly have nothing in common with this Egyptian handmaid first named in Genesis 16, we’re more alike than we are different. We all struggle and, more importantly, we are all seen by God.

Backing up a bit to offer a refresher of the story, we can turn to The International Standard Bible Encyclopaedia.[1] It’s explained that Hagar was likely given to Sarai by Pharaoh. When Sarai could not conceive a child, she gave Hagar to her husband Abram for sexual relations so that any child they had together would belong to Sarai. No surprise here, but Sarai became harsh towards Hagar; so harsh that the pregnant woman ran away into the wildness towards her home country of Egypt.  While she was resting, an angel of the Lord appeared to her with a message from God to return to Sarai. Along with this commandment came great promises related to her unborn son Ishmael. Hagar replied to the angel, giving him the name El Roi – The God who sees me. God manifested Himself “in the person of His angel” and Hagar knew she had been seen.[2] 

Things must have been really bad for Hagar to run away with no money and nowhere to go. It would be incredibly hard today, but at least there are some resources for those who are abused, impoverished, and/or pregnant. Imagine how things might have been in 2080 or 1914 BC.[3] Hagar didn’t stand a chance. But God. There are many lessons that can be taken from this passage, but the one I want to hang my hat on – especially during the topsy turvy world we are living in – is “the care exercised over the lonely by the all-seeing God.”[4]

While staying at home for weeks during the coronavirus pandemic, I am not physically alone. In fact, I wouldn’t mind a few minutes to myself every once in a while. Yet, there is still a sense of sorrow over not being able to be with family and friends who live outside of my home. I think especially of those who live alone. One single friend celebrated his birthday all alone, and it should not be so. Yet, the reality of the situation is that isolating from others has been a painful necessity to prevent more pain. In fact, it is to save the very lives of our loved ones and strangers alike. But it has not been an easy process.

This has been made more challenging by the fact that the same issues surrounding us before the pandemic did not go away when the new problem hit. For me, this includes the continuing grief process over my brother passing away last summer as well as my father’s ongoing battle with leukemia. So, on top of these (and other stressors), come COVID-19. Still, the sweet truth is that God still sees me. He still sees you. He is a real God who gives comfort and strength to His Children. This is what Hagar desperately needed during a harrowing time in her life. This is what we all need today. El Roi awaits with open arms.

[1] The International Standard Bible Encyclopeadia (1996). Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co: United States.

[2] Ibid., p. 1316.

[3] New Living Translation One Year Chronological Bible: Expressions (2015). Tyndale House Publishers, Inc: Carol Stream, IL.

[4] The International Standard Bible Encyclopeadia (1996). Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co: United States, p. 1316.

Disclaimer: All views expressed by those associated with this ministry or on our platforms do not necessarily represent the opinions of Women in Apologetics, Inc. or its individual team members.

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