Have you ever had one of those weeks? You know, a week where you wish you could change your name and hair color,and move to a whole new place where no one knows you? Maybe sign up for a tour on the S.S. Minnow, and get stranded on a deserted island with the Skipper, Gilligan and crew? (Gilligan’s Island is a TV show from 1964. Google it!) There, where the weightiest thing on your mind would be trying to figure out why the Howes brought all they owned for a three hour outing, or why the Professor, who could make a phone out of two coconuts and some rope, couldn’t fix a hole in a boat!
Gilligan’s Island is fiction. Life and its circumstances are not.
Sometimes, we can be stretched so thin by life’s trials that we feel invisible…even to God.
Have you been there?
Just recently, finding myself in that very place, God led me to read a passage from Ann Spangler’s book, Praying the Names of God.
Here is what I read. May it be a soothing balm to your soul, as it was to mine:
The God Who Sees Me
“The angel of the LORD found Hagar near a spring in the desert; it was the spring that is beside the road to Shur. And he said, “Hagar, servant of Sarai, where have you come from, and where are you going?”
“I’m running away from my mistress Sarai,” she answered.
Then the angel of the LORD told her, “Go back to your mistress and submit to her.”
The angel added, “I will increase your descendants so much that they will be too numerous to
The angel of the LORD also said to her: “You are now pregnant and you will give birth to a son. You shall name him Ishmael, for the LORD has heard of your misery. He will be a wild donkey of a man; his hand will be against everyone and everyone’s hand against him, and he will live in hostility toward all his brothers.”
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.” That is why the well was called Beer Lahai Roi; it is still there, between Kadesh and Bered.
So Hagar bore Abram a son, and Abram gave the name Ishmael
to the son she had borne.”
Genesis 16: 7-15
An Egyptian slave, Hagar encountered God in the desert and addressed him as El Roi, “the God who sees me.” Notably, this is the only occurrence of El Roi in the Bible.
Hagar’s God is the one who numbers the hairs on our heads and who knows our circumstances, past, present, and future. When you pray to El Roi, you are praying to the one who knows everything about you.
“From heaven the LORD looks down and sees all humankind; from his dwelling place he watches all who live on earth—he who forms the hearts of all, who considers everything they do.”
Even the most watchful parent must sleep. But scripture makes it clear that God never slumbers, never looks one way while we head off in another, never misses a millisecond of what is happening on earth.
El Roi is a God so watchful that he is said to note even when the smallest sparrow falls to the ground. This is the God who watches over you today, whether or not you recognize his presence.
Aware that you may sometimes find yourself in desolate places, he is always near, helping you find a path through troubles, working out his plans for your future.” Ann Spangler, Praying the Names of God