This is not a fun story. It doesn’t make Sarai, Abram or even God come off looking very good. Hagar, the oppressed concubine pregnant with her master’s son, is the hero of the story.
We’ve all had bad days, but I think we can agree that Hagar’s bad day is one of the worst. And it is on this day that she encounters God…a God who doesn’t even tell her what she wants to hear. Go back to the place she had just fled? Really, God?
But Hagar recognizes that she is experiencing the divine presence of God. She is the only person in all of the Bible who refers to God as El Roi (the one who sees). In the midst of her struggle, her attempt to escape her circumstances, her seemingly hopeless situation, she feels seen. The well where it happened came to be called Beer-lahai-roi, or the well of the one who sees me.
It is a prequel to the much later story of another woman at another well, who calls on her friends to “come and see this man who knows everything about me.” Come and see this man who really sees me.
If total outcasts like Hagar and that unnamed woman at the well can recognize that our God is a God who sees them, surely we can, too. Even on days when we feel alone and not seen at all.
No matter how bad your day is, no matter how alone, unappreciated, unnoticed, ineffective and invisible you may feel at times, you are seen. Seen by the God who created you and loves you deeply.
Rev. Anne Russ is an ordained pastor in the Presbyterian Church (USA), currently based in New York City. Doubting Believer provides tools and encouragement for the rollercoaster ride of your faith journey. Follow me on Facebook , Instagram and YouTube. You can also follow on TikTok. Get emails to keep up with all that is happening.
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