She fell to her knees beside the spring and broke down into tears. What would she do next? In her haste to get away, she hadn’t thought about what she’d do after her escape. All she knew was that she couldn’t endure her mistress’ abuse a moment longer, and so she ran.
Her life was hardly recognizable anymore. She felt invisible and worthless, like nothing more than a piece of property that conveniently had a womb. It was laughable to think she had a choice in these decisions that were made at her expense. It took everything within her to steal her mind and body when she was given to her mistress’ husband. And now she was with child, their child, and treated with even more contempt than before by her mistress.
Hagar had never felt so alone when the angel of the Lord found her crying by the spring. He asked where she had come from and where she was going, but she could only answer the former and not the latter. She was fleeing from her mistress Sarai, but as for her future, she hadn’t thought that far ahead.
Return and submit
Maybe for the first time in her life, Hagar had a choice to make. Would she take the road that led her further into the wilderness, and risk dying of exposure? Or would she return to the only life she’d ever known – a life of servitude? The angel of the Lord told her what she needed to do, “Return to your mistress and submit to her.”
The choice was clear. Choose life. Return and submit to the conditions you don’t like. Return to your unreasonable mistress, submit to her, and trust God to work out the rest. To do anything else would be folly. But with his command came the promise of blessing. The Egyptian servant, whose future had seemingly been ripped away, would receive the blessing of offspring too numerous to count.
This must’ve been unfathomable for her. The young pregnant woman who’d felt invisible and alone had been seen by God. All the worries that gripped her heart, all the degradation she had endured, had not gone unseen. There at the desert spring, she encountered the living God and knew that her life mattered. She named the angel of the Lord, “El Ro’i” which means, “the God who sees me,” and the place where they met, “The well of the living one who sees me.”
Dear Mom, who feels invisible,
Do you know there’s a God who sees you too?
Your circumstances might not be as extreme as Hagar’s, but you know what it feels like to have your life spin out of control. Choices others have made, along with their consequences, have landed on you, and it seems unfair and cruel. There are times you want to run and hide or escape reality if only for a moment. But the God who saw the frightened mother-to-be crying by the spring is the same God who sees your heartbreak too.
No search party had been organized to find Hagar. Yet the angel of the Lord, often identified as the pre-incarnate Christ, found her by the spring. In the middle of the desert, the one who was an oasis of hope and refreshment was looking for Hagar. He knew her whole story, and even though her future remained a mystery to her, he advised her on the way she should go.
Maybe this Mother’s Day your circumstances are so challenging you want to run and hide too. But God’s message to you is the same. “I see you, and I know.” Go back to the teachings of his Word, and submit yourself to them again. Find them to be the spring of living water that wells up in your soul and reminds you that there’s a God who knows everything about you and loves you still.
The God who sees
When you feel invisible and alone, be encouraged that not one detail of your life, or one molecule in the universe, goes unnoticed by the God who sees.
He reminds you from his Word…
- “Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” (Isaiah 41:10)
- The eyes of the Lord are in every place, keeping watch on the evil and the good. (Proverbs 15:3)
- The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing. (Zephaniah 3:17)
- Behold the eye of the Lord is on those who fear him, on those who hope in his steadfast love. (Psalm 33:18)
- For my eyes are on all their ways. They are not hidden from me, nor is their iniquity concealed from my eyes. (Jeremiah 16:17)
The personal, pursuing God who sees everything, sees you too. After this encounter with the angel of the Lord, Hagar said, “Truly here I have seen him who looks after me” (Genesis 16:13).
Dear Not Invisible Mom,
God is looking after you too, even if it doesn’t feel like it. Return and submit to him, for his blessings follow his commands. This is where your soul will be refreshed, like a spring that overflows in the desert. He’s the God who pursues and goes looking for you. He’s El Ro’i, the God who sees, and you are loved and seen by him.
Have a blessed Mother’s Day,
P.S. If you’re a writer (or want to start writing), register for our free webinar about the Writers’ Bloc. Enrollment opens next week for a limited time (May 18-21, 2023). Don’t miss out on being a part of the most encouraging writing neighborhood around!
P.P.S. If you’re looking for a new devotional, check out my latest plan on YouVersion, “I Am.”