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God of the Invisible

When you call on the God Who Sees, you’re praying to the One who gives purpose to pain.

 

Open a paper or turn on the news, and you’re bound to see a world that’s suffering. More than anything, you are acutely familiar with the chaos present in your own life. We’re told from our Christian infancy that God’s plan is never a mistake; there is no Plan B—not even man’s exile from Eden. But if God is operating on Plan A, how should we pray when He leads us through hardship?

The way we relate to God in prayer is a good indicator of our relationship with Him. Do we come before Him only to beg for change in our current circumstance? Do we petition Him on behalf of friends or strangers? Do we ask to see His character more clearly? Do we listen?

Next to biblical giants like Abraham and Sarah, the Egyptian slave Hagar seems at best to hold the role of supporting actress. But the spotlight is all hers in Genesis 16. At a time when God was spoken of only in broad, majestic terms like Elohim (the Creator God) or Shaddai (the Almighty), Hagar responds to hearing the Lord by giving Him an intimately personal name that still defines our theology today: El Roi, (the God Who Sees Me).

READ Genesis 16

The scene is set with a common theme in the biblical narrative: Sarai (whom we will later know as Sarah) has thus far been incapable of giving her husband an heir. She’s pushing 76, so according to the custom of her day, she makes her slave girl a surrogate. As if forced servitude weren’t dehumanizing enough, the young maidservant is commanded to sleep with 86-year-old Abram. She conceives, but in a culture where motherhood is a woman’s most prized career, Hagar knows she’ll be stripped of this right as well. Either the pending release of her child to Sarai’s waiting arms or growing pride in her ability to conceive drives Hagar to treat her barren mistress with scorn. And Sarai’s discipline of Hagar’s rebellion ultimately causes the servant to flee.

Feeling unseen, abused, and alone, Hagar runs away to a potentially more dangerous place: the wilderness. It’s unclear how long the pregnant girl wanders there, but she is undoubtedly lost, hungry, and desperate to be seen by someone who will fight for her. Then something life-changing happens.

God calls her by name, confirming that she is indeed seen. In fact, He “found her,” Genesis 16:7 says. He didn’t stumble upon her; He pursued her. During their dialogue—which is the heart of prayer—God calls her with a mission: to go back to the very thing she is running from. But He doesn’t send her back empty-handed. Before the age of sonograms, the Lord tells her that she is pregnant with a son and her descendants will be innumerable. More than promising that she will not die in the desert, God promises Hagar that He will continue to see her, hear her prayer, and give her a role in a story that will someday encompass both Hebrews and Gentiles. Hagar can return to a less-than-ideal life with the confidence that she is not alone, the knowledge that she has been a key piece in a bigger plan, and a message for her community: The Lord is a personal God who sees you.

When we encounter suffering, our natural instinct is to retaliate or run. Sometimes escaping from a bad situation is God’s plan. But often our limited human vantage point prevents us from grasping His eternal perspective.

In those situations, laboring through dark and lonely places teaches us to see beyond ourselves and help advance God’s kingdom in a broken world. Just like the time Hagar spent with the Lord, praying through our suffering equips us to know God’s character more intimately, to put others before ourselves, and to find purpose in pain.

 

REFLECT + EXPLORE

Reflect on these insights from supporting scriptures. If you have time, explore the passages and journal your responses.

• You are not invisible to God.

Read Psalm 33:13-15. Is the fact that God sees you enough for you to find purpose in dark and lonely places?

• “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God” (Matt. 5:8).

Have you sincerely prayed to see God’s vision for your life, even if it differs from your own?

• Daniel’s prayer life was unwavering in the face of hardship. God saw him and delivered him from the mouth of lions.

Read Daniel 6:10-23. Do you pray only in times of need, or is your communication with God daily and unswerving?

• Hannah prayed passionately to the Lord, and He remembered her.

Read 1 Samuel 1:1-20. Do you pour out your heart before God, believing that He is able to accomplish the seemingly impossible?

 

RESPOND

Answer the following questions, journaling your thoughts if possible.

Recall a time past or present when God asked you to labor through a difficult season. What did it teach you about His character?

How has God used your time of discomfort to bring comfort to others?

If you were to give God a personal name while praying, what would you call Him? Write a prayer using your intimate name for God.

Copyright 2014 In Touch Ministries, Inc. All rights reserved. www.intouch.org. In Touch grants permission to print for personal use only.


20 comments
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  • November 07, 2013 02:30 PM

    by

    I call God, phenomenal.
  • October 29, 2013 08:41 PM

    by

    God is my protector. Always there, always in control no matter what. Even when the way seems uncertain. Pray for God to continue to place a hedge of protection around me and my family. He is my beloved, my rock, my fortress in the evil times. I pray God will help through this time of trouble and help me keep my eyes on him.
  • October 29, 2013 08:48 AM

    by

    Thanks. I am all I am only by the grace of God
  • October 26, 2013 11:45 PM

    by

    Thank you Lord my Provider, you always feed me with wisdom to utilize all the spiritual weapons that You have given unto me to fight my enemy, the great Deceiver of the world. Continue Lord to give me strength because I know You never disappoint. You are an awesome God. AMEN
  • October 26, 2013 04:51 AM

    by

    He is my God of Everything.
    He puts me where I should be. He equips me; lets me understand and get wisdom from the situation to be fruitful in my mission. All glory to Him!
  • October 25, 2013 11:17 PM

    by

    God's word is a light unto my path,their is n other God , he is worthy of praise and thanksgiving . Thank you In Touch ministry,for teaching us God's word and truth
  • October 24, 2013 11:37 PM

    by

    I call Him my beloved..
  • October 24, 2013 10:40 PM

    by

    My Father in Heaven Who knows me.
    He knows my name. He was my Daddy's Father, and my Mamma's Father. He knew them, and He knew me from before I was born. He chose me to live my life and for His purpose.
    I was a twin. Not only was I chosen to be concieved....my twin passed before birth...I was chosen to be born.
    The Creator of the universe knows my name, and my purpose..
  • October 24, 2013 03:39 PM

    by

    During my long yrs of drug addiction, God never left me. He always made me feel loved when I needed to, and always let me feel guilty when I needed that, too. Hagar named Him "God who sees me," I call Him God who never quits.
    I thank God for Dr Stanley and his ministry.
  • October 24, 2013 02:04 PM

    by

    God is my sweet and caring, commander and chief, always navigating the seas before me.... with my best interest in mind.
  • October 24, 2013 12:04 PM

    by

    Thank you Dr Stanley for the encouraging word....it has been a great help as well a guide for me to give more time in my daily studies.

  • October 24, 2013 11:16 AM

    by

    God is my Heavenly Father . He wants me to live a healthy clean life. God is my friend. He wants me to talk to him about everything. God is my everything. Thank you Father God for everything. I love you God & I trust your will for my life. In Jesus name I pray. Amen
  • October 22, 2013 06:54 PM

    by

    God used me to encourage someone else who was in deep, dark despair. Even though I felt like my world was falling apart, I gave him consistent encouragement that Jesus was still the answer, that Jesus was waiting for him to come back (because he was denying Jesus), and that Jesus wanted to love and comfort and pick him up.

    I'm still going through my own darkness. But I tasted and saw that the Lord is good; I tasted and saw that He was of greater worth than all I have and all I pursue. I'm praying that Jesus will help me transition from my old life to consistent new life in Him, where there is no darkness. As He said: I am the light of the world. He who follows me will never walk in darkness. May He answer this prayer, in Jesus' own name. Amen.
  • October 20, 2013 05:33 AM

    by

    for me,He is the God of all comfort......the LORD comforts me at all times....
  • October 19, 2013 03:36 AM

    by

    The God who carries me... Through all trial and adversity-NEVER LEAVING my side.Thank you Father God forever!
  • October 09, 2013 04:24 PM

    by

    God is my Best Friend.......He listens to me and then He talks to me and He understands me whether I am having the worst or best of days and He does not judge me.......He answers all my prayers with the answer that is best for me......Thank you for loving me......I LOVE YOU JESUS
  • October 07, 2013 12:38 PM

    by

    ("the God that knows my ways")
  • October 06, 2013 08:18 AM

    by

    The God Who Sees Me.
  • October 02, 2013 07:02 PM

    by

    God is my companion...He is always with me.
  • October 02, 2013 01:10 PM

    by

    Thank You Lord for Blessing us Your Spiritual Strength always In Jesus Name Amen...

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