Not long ago, I accompanied a friend to the hospital for surgery. After she was wheeled away, I began talking with one of the nurses. Somehow the conversation came around the nurse's brother, who had been killed in an accident three years earlier. Like most untimely losses, the brother's death had dramatically disrupted this woman's family. Her mother still struggled with bitterness. Her parent's marriage had faltered. Her son, born two weeks after her brother's death, would never know his uncle.
Soon my new friend was pouring out her heart to me. And at some point I shared with her what I was learning about El Roi, which literally means "the God who sees." (Genesis 16:13)
"Do you understand that God sees you in all this?" I said. "He really sees—"
I hadn't even finished the sentence before she started to weep. She cried so hard that another nurse walked over to see if she was okay. She was completely undone at the thought that God saw her pain, her fear, her broken heart. She kept saying through deep sobs, "He sees me? He really sees me?"
That was just one simple encounter, one more reminder that the message of the God who sees you is one that needs to be shared again and again—with those who don't know the Lord and with those who do. Remember, there is a reason we hunger to be recognized, acknowledged, appreciated, and cared for. There is a reason our hide-and-seek lives leave us feeling so bruised and unsatisfied. It's because God has intentionally and wonderfully created us to see and be seen, to live an intimate and joyful relationship with Him and with others.
More important, He put that need in us because He wants to meet it. He's put the longing there to draw us closer to His heart.
We hunger to be seen—because He really does see us.
The challenge is to really believe it...to live in the confidence that we are recognized and accepted and included and, most of all, loved.
Can you do that? Can I?
I'll admit I've had my struggles, but I can honestly say I believe it with all my heart. Here's why:
First, the Bible tells me so, and the Bible has proven a reliable guide in my life. The whole sweep of the Bible can be understood as the story of a God who saw His people, even when they couldn't see Him. A God who came to earth and paid special attention to the unnoticed—the meek and the mourning, the children everyone turned away, the powerless rather than the ones on top. A God who cared so much about what He saw that He came to earth in human form, turning hide-and-seek into the ultimate show-and-tell.
But I also believe because God has shown me, again and again, in the circumstances of my life. He has shown me through the whisper of His Holy Spirit, or the timing of my experiences, through the love and example of other people and the mysterious provision of what I have needed most.
I've seen too much evidence not to believe God sees me. I've been loved too much not to make it the story of my life.
I want it to be the story of your life as well. I want it to change everything, including how you look at God and yourself and other people. I want you to live in confidence that when God looks at you, He sees beauty. He sees value. He sees hope. And that even when you're hiding, or when you are so beaten down you'd can't see anything clearly, He's still hard at work, crafting a beautiful future of relationship with Him and with others.
Watch Tammy Maltby this Tuesday on LIFE Today. Excerpted from The God Who Sees You by Tammy Maltby with Anne Christian Buchanan. © 2012 Tammy Maltby. Published by David C. Cook. Used with permission. No part of this excerpt is downloadable or reproducible in any format without publisher permission.