Updated: Jan 19, 2021
When my daughter was little she loved the ‘Spot’ books. These were books about a dog named Spot and her favorite was, ‘Where’s Spot?’ I don’t know why but a certain page has stuck with me all these years. The Lion, one of Spot’s friends, tries to hide under a rug during their game of hide and seek. Of course, he is too big and isn’t hidden at all. The funny thing is that Lion has his eyes covered and is most likely thinking, “If I can’t see them, they won’t be able to see me.”
Sometimes I’m a bit like Lion. This can be bad. If I have ever rolled my eyes at something you said - I’m sorry! Because I can’t always see others well; their gestures, body language, or facial expressions, I assume that they can’t see me either.
I was reflecting on this idea of feeling unseen, hidden, or unnoticed - maybe even invisible. It is something we have all felt at one time or another. Maybe we even feel it right now! We aren’t really invisible but it sure feels like it!
I was reading the story of Hagar the other day in Genesis chapter 16. Go ahead and read the whole story again. What a tragic story of a deal gone wrong! She is obedient to her owner and then cast out -alone.
But in verse 13, after meeting with the Lord and receiving His promise, she declares;
“You are the God who sees me- I have now seen the one who sees me.”
The desire to be seen.
In Tanzania, we sang a favorite Swahili chorus that says, he sees me. During worship services, we could sing the same words in a song for 15-20 minutes. I’m not exaggerating! But one Sunday while singing this lyric over 20 times - it sank. It really sank deep into my heart. Maybe the first 19 times I just wasn’t focused.
But I asked myself, “Does God see me? Is that enough for me? Do people see me? What is it really that I long for?”
To be considered, recognized, seen, accepted and loved gives an amazing sense of belonging.
I’m reading a book that has challenged me on this. I’m beginning to believe that these raw, heart desires are not something to be ashamed of or called out as selfish. Yes, they can become idol-like but there is something at its core. We need each other.
I believe we were made and meant to be seen and to belong to him and to others. The Bible is full of how important ‘together’ is. We were created and called to love and be loved, to encourage, forgive, build up, pray for, be devoted to, live in harmony with, instruct , serve, bear with, admonish, offer hospitality and belong to each other. And when we can’t or don’t have that assurance, encouragement and connection with others, we can grieve.
Maybe that is a bit of what we are going through in this COVID season. It is grief.
This season is hard.
I think I’m grieving it. We all, at some level, are grieving it. The isolation and the alone is just hard and we may not see or recognize it as grief. Often our words and our actions, as well as those of others, just comes out in a jumble of frustration, ugly and anger. But in this season, where it seems everyone is grieving the loss of ‘normal,’ maybe we should start responding to it, and to others with some grace. It is grief - feeling unseen and unheard! But today, I’m trying to take heart, knowing this; we do have each other and we have Him.
He sees us!
We may have to sing it 20 times for it to sink.
But He sees us!
He sees you - and He sees me -even when I have the rug pulled over me and my eyes are covered!
Just because we can’t see him doesn’t mean he can’t see us!
Lord, thank you for your constant watch over us. We need you- we need extra patience, extra energy and endurance. Help us to do this season well. Help us to really see one another even though we are apart. In Jesus’ Name, Amen
She gave this name to the Lord who spoke to her: “You are the God who sees me,” for she said, “I have now seen the one who sees me.” Genesis 16:13 (NIV)