“God knows our situation; He will not judge us as if we had no difficulties to overcome. What matters is the sincerity and perseverance of our will to overcome them.”
~ C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity
God knows. God sees.
There is a story in Genesis 16 of an abused slave, Hagar, who became the second wife of Abram in order to conceive an heir. When the first wife, Sarai, felt Hagar had supplanted her, she treated her cruelly and the young woman fled. The angel of the LORD (possibly the pre-incarnate Christ) met her in the wilderness, and she called the LORD, “The God who sees me.”
It is too easy to feel invisible, unnoticed, unseen. Perhaps you wake in the morning like I have lately, wondering, Can I keep going? Is there even a point in this struggle, in this pain?
A little over a week ago I challenged myself and others to make a record of the mundane and boring tasks in my life #majesticinthemundane so that perhaps I could find a way to “practice the presence of God” and worship despite the pain of daily debilitating migraines and my upward battle against depression/anxiety. I found hope in this place, I found joy. I found that God sees me as I struggle. Each day I snapped pictures with my phone while looking at the tasks I had before me. I was searching for a feeling as I tried completing each thing. I wanted to feel inspired, invigorated, I wanted the pain to diminish and to be able to say, “Look, I did it! I worshipped God! I felt close to Him!”
But instead, I became more aware of Him, as though I could sense Him watching me in that absorbed way that a parent looks on a child (whom they adore) while they are at work or play. I realized God just wants to be with us. He wants to hear from us. He is ready to listen, as though we are sitting and chatting, maybe drinking some coffee and catching up.
Last week was far from perfect. I only left the house once to run an errand, and the point of the errand was mostly to get me “outside”. (It’s still considered outside if you are crouched in the front seat of the mini-van shielding your eyes from sunlight with sunglasses, right?) I wondered as I was sitting there, How am I supposed to worship God right now? And I realized that simply being present with the ones I was with was part of worship. I had to consciously make the effort to look outside my own pain and struggle to see others, the way God was showing me He could see me.
By the end of the week, I had recorded the most common of mundane tasks, and I felt seen, I felt loved and renewed. The pain was still present, depression and anxiety still crouched at my door, but Christ Himself was seated by the hearth of my soul, abiding with me and I with Him. It wasn’t just a cuddling feeling (though at times I experienced that), it was recognizing:
Imagine, a bottle of our collected tears. He sees. He knows. He wants to be with us in the battle, in the difficulties, in the dark. That is where He meets us and shows us as we praise Him, He is for us. (Psalm 56:8-11)
I’ve said this before. I don’t know everything you’re going through, I don’t know how hard it’s been lately. I do know the One who knows, and I trust that He sees you. I trust that He has something for you in this difficult place. I trust that He is using you in ways you can’t even imagine. I am more convinced than ever before in my life that none of what we go through is wasted, that each time we end up heading down a path we would rather avoid, God will still use it. I have seen this in my own life and in the lives of those I love. Please know that I am praying for you and I hope that if you need specific prayer you will contact me.
More of my struggle is recorded in my soon to be released book,”Memoirs of a Headcase: Held by the God of Hope”. To receive a free electronic copy, let me know you are interested.
Photo Credits: Edu Grande, JacQueline V. Roe, Scott Van Hoy, and Milada Vigerova.
Graphics: JacQueline V. Roe