Genesis 16:13-14 AMPC “So she called the name of the Lord Who spoke to her, You are a God of seeing, for she said, Have I [not] even here [in the wilderness] looked upon Him Who sees me [and lived]? Or have Ihere also seen [the future purposes or designs of] Him Who sees me? Therefore the well was called Beer-lahai-roi [A well to the Living One Who sees me]; it is between Kadesh and Bered.”
Hagar, Sarai’s maid, was at the end of her rope. Sarai had dealt with her severely, and Hagar ran away because of that. The Angel of the Lord found Hagar in the wilderness and He wanted to know where she had come from and where she was going. She told Him that she was running away from her mistress. The Angel of the Lord told her that she should return to her mistress Sarai. He went on to tell her about the child she was pregnant with.
The situation all started when Sarai became impatient in not getting pregnant as the Lord had promised, and decided to help God out. (We all think we can do that sometimes.) She gave Abram her maid, Hagar, to sleep with. Hagar then became pregnant and the situation only became more complicated after that.
After Hagar had this encounter with the Angel of the Lord, she realized the awesomeness of this situation.and called the name of the Lord, “a God of seeing.” She recognized that she had actually seen God and lived. She also learned of His purpose, He had told her what He was going to do. And He described to her what her son would be like. From that time on the well there was called, “Beer-lahai-roi [A well to the Living One Who sees me.]”
This is one of my favorite passages of scripture, and “The God Who sees me” is one of my favorite names of God. It is a picture of God, His character, His personal presence, and His love for us.
He has used this verse and this story to teach me some very important lessons. Sometimes there are people in your life who you have difficulty getting along with. We frequently come into conflicts with others in life. There are times when we just don’t see eye-to-eye. There are other times when people are critical of us. And still other occasions when we don’t feel heard, it seems as if they just don’t listen to what we have to say. And these examples are only a few of the possible scenarios that can occur in relationships. I am sure a situation comes to your mind right now as you read this.
When we don’t feel understood, we may respond by trying to make our point by going on and on with an explanation to make the other person see our side of the story. Or maybe to try to change their position completely.
When we don’t feel heard, we may speak louder, repeating ourselves until our words are being acknowledged.
When we feel criticized, we may react with a similar type of critical spirit and say mean or hurtful words in revenge.
Maybe one or all of these scenarios occurred in the trouble between Sarai and Hagar. And Scripture tells us that the end result was Hagar leaving because of the way Sarai responded to her, humbling and afflicting her, is the way the Amplified Bible explains her treatment.
I have been dealing with an ongoing conflict in a relationship in my life. I felt desperate for help. I was tired of responding with anger or yelling, seeking to make my point, to be understood, or to be heard. After praying about my frustration for a while the Lord showed me some things that have really helped me.
Isn’t it interesting that the Angel of the Lord told Hagar ro return to Sarai even after the harsh treatment? But it wasn’t just a matter of going back, but He specifically told her to “humbly submit” to Sarai.
Hagar listened and I think that she realized that God saw her situation and really knew all about it. It was in my recognizing that truth, that the Lord revealed some important lessons.
1. He sees me in my situation, in every difficult encounter, and He is present with me.
2. He knows the truth about the situation. He knows if the words that I receive are filtered through reality or just my unhealthy perceptions of the other.
3. He knows my personal need to be heard, to be listened to, to be understood, and to have my thoughts acknowledged or validated. Yet, He also sees the pride behind that, the need to be right, the need to have the last word, the need to show what I know or whatever it may be.
So, what does all this mean for the next time a problem arises?
1. Because God sees me, I am not alone.
2. Because He knows the truth, I don’t need to prove anything by arguing or making sure I am heard.
3. Because He knows my neediness, I can rest in the knowledge of His love, knowing I matter to Him.
Being right and being heard suddenly fade in importance when you realize that you are not alone, that there is ALWAYS Someone there Who understands.
This has made a huge difference in my response in aggravating situations. I can put my finger over my lips and say inside, “God sees me, He is with me, He knows all about this, and I am not alone in my hurt, anger, frustration…” I can remain calm. Making my point, arguing, trying to be understood, never really accomplished anything. I never came away feeling good about it. It ended up being a no-win situation. But now, I have victory whenever conflict comes up because I live under a God Who sees me.
Hagar was told by the Angel of the Lord that she will name her baby Ishmael, which means “God hears”, and she was to name him that “because the Lord has heard and paid attention to your affliction.” (Genesis 16:11b) I too know that God hears, and that He pays attention to my afflictions. How beautiful is that!?
Think about your difficult relationship. Victory His way is so much better.
You can read Hagar’s story in Genesis chapter 16.