The God Who Sees

By Anonymous
By Anonymous
By Jonathan Cortina
By Kuruvilla (K.O.) Oommen
By John Dyer
By Abe Paul
By Lauren Geppert
By Jennifer Durrett
By Penny Jones
By Amy Owen
By Jill Asibelua
By Madi McGraw
By Jared Barnett
By Paul Martin
By Jeremy Varnell
By Norm Headlam
By Kristi Herring
By Alban Snider
By Sissy Mathew
By Glenda Root
By Oscar Camacho, Jr
By Shannon Pugh
By Al Palamara
By Don Robb
By Mike Pope
By Melanie Mechsner
By Kyla Mikusek
By Michelle Garza
By Armando Galvan
By Jeremiah Betron
By Camille Holland
By Rod Myers
By Ruby King
By Shannon Lewis
By Susan Weiser
By Charles Pierce
By Chase Studdard
By Crystal Elwell
By Darcy Peterson
By Jason Elwell
By Amy Aupperlee
By Jodie Niznik
By Tiffany Stein
By Barry Jones
By Erin Hargrave
By Katie Geurin
By Bryan Eck
By Ginger Holland
By Tricia Kinsman
By Jason Stein
By Bob Downey
By Nat Pugh
By Sarah Kemper
By Lynda Reynolds
By Dana Myers
By Craig Pierce
By Jim Woodward
By Lindsey Sobolik
By Scott McClellan
By Michelle Tibbatts
By Andy McQuitty
By Pete Hyndman
By Kevin Dial
By Cathy Barnett
By Ryan Sanders
By Casey Pruet, The Grace Alliance
By Sharon Arrington
By Lauren Chapin
By Betsy Paul
By Alberto Negron
By Kelly Jarrell
By Michelle Mayes
By Jenn Wright
By Jill Jackson
By Terri Moore
By Robyn Wise
By Katherine Holloway
By Richard Ray
By Kurtlery Knight
By Bruce Hebel
By Neil Tomba
By Tony Bridwell
By Grayson McGovern
By Luke Donohoo
By Kathy Whitthorne
By Mike Moore
By Wade Raper
By Mike Gwartney
By Jo Saxton
By Dieula Previlon
By Jonathan Cude
By Ken Lawrence
By Jay Hohfeler
By Barb Haesecke
By Lindsay Casillas
By JoAnn Hummel
By Shawn Small
By Alice McQuitty
By Jonathan Murphy
By Peggy Norton
By Brent McKinney
By Irving Bible Church
By Irving Bible Church
By Ashley Tieperman
By Betsy Nichols
By Trey Grant
By Debbie Lucien
By Sue Edwards
By Suzie Robinson
By Paul Smith

It was about 49 degrees, and both kids had their hoods pulled up around their faces like grim reapers. We had made it over the bridge and were finally within the bounds of Trinity Park. We breathed in the exhaust from the train engine — having chosen to sit too close to the front — and turned our heads away to catch fleeting breaths of clean, cold air.

The trees. When you faced them squarely from a train car, they looked like flags stuck in the ground in a haphazard scatter, as if Russel Crowe from “A Beautiful Mind” had devised a jumbled pattern that only made sense to him. Can you imagine being skewered in one place for fifty years?

“He will be like a tree,” the Psalmist writes of the righteous man, the person whose roots go down into God. “That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither — whatever they do prospers” (Ps. 1:3). Even a February tree has fruit coming, eventually, or at least a green leaf or two.

As we passed them in the train, I began thinking about how the trees do not move, how they are fixed in space and time, and I began to wonder about how all of us people are fixed in time but not in space. We are able to move around our homes, our garages, our restaurants and schools and cubicles and closets. We are able to live and move and be and ride trains to and from — but we are not able to move away from time. I am wed to the present tense, roots to soil. I cannot leave 9:54 a.m. for 9:55 a.m. ahead of time.

There is a wonderful Present Tense moment in Scripture I’ve always loved. It’s the story of Hagar, the second wife of Abraham, who bore Ishmael. In Genesis 16, Hagar is fleeing. She is  desperate — a pregnant pawn used to expedite a Plan — and now she’s running from the fallout.

Scripture says the “angel of the Lord” found Hagar by a spring in the desert. The verse clarifies the location: “It was the spring that is beside the road to Shur.” I have no idea where that might be, but the writer makes sure I knows it’s a real place. (You know, that spot, the one by the road to Shur?)

Sure.

Real place. At a real time, too — like 9:54 a.m., say.

The angel of the Lord says:

“Hagar, slave of Sarai, where have you come from, and where are you going?”

“I’m running away from my mistress Sarai,” she answers.

Then the Lord tells her marvelous things about an abundance of descendants in her future, safety enough to bear them, and most of all, this: God has seen her misery, heard her cries. Her son’s name shall be Ishmael, which means God hears. 

Then Hagar assigns the Name-Giver a new name: 

“‘You are the God who sees me,’ for she said, ‘I have now seen the One who sees me.’”

Ishmael: God hears.

The Lord: the God Who Sees Me.

Hears. Sees.

Not, God heard me, or God will hear me. Not God saw me or God will see me. But he hears and sees. He hears and sees me. Personal, present tense.

Something about her encounter with the Lord on the road to Shur made her Sure: Hagar was in the process of being beheld. And why was this more moniker-worthy than, say, God’s protection? Or God’s provision? Hagar could have named Him “The God Who Heard My Cry” or “The God Who Will Fashion a Future,” but she didn’t. 

There is just something about being seen, isn’t there? Even more than that, there’s something sacred about eye contact. All at once I remember what it is like to catch a beloved’s eye from across a crowded room.  It’s an instant suspended in time, skewered in Now. Now might be complicated, boring, or gloomy, but it is the only time I have to hold God’s gaze.  

So Now it is. I’m stuck here anyway. Might as well make it a cozy place to dwell, even if it means relinquishing to whatever the moment is, even if it’s not particularly fruitful or interesting. Even if I happen to be running for my life.

I send my roots deep. I wait for leaves.

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