I get it if today you don’t want to hear that God sees you and has a plan. Even though it's true, it is the kind of cliché that can mean so little when everyone forgets your birthday, or you have just been passed over for a job you really wanted, or you are heating up another meal for one and feeling like no one even cares you are alive.
Recently, I sat in a coffee shop with a friend sharing our hearts. I told her about feeling unseen, about no one acknowledging what a painful experience I went through. My friend sat across the table as I told the story and said, “It hurts, right? It wounds our hearts deeply to be told our pain isn't real, that it doesn't matter?” I nodded, and the wound in my heart throbbed. It throbbed because my friend acknowledged my hurt. My pain was being seen. I was being seen.
Then she told me about her little girl. Adopted shortly after birth, her daughter is now five and struggles with her presence not being acknowledged. My friend shared how her daughter’s birth mother never told anyone about her pregnancy. The birth mother hid the pregnancy – hid my friend’s daughter and shielded her from being known or at least acknowledged, even while the in the womb. My friend’s little girl started out her life unseen. Invisible. And she has spent the last five years trying to make sure she is seen.
As my friend spoke the words she prays over her daughter, they began to heal my pain of feeling unseen. I found healing in her words, reminding me that the God who sees all things is a Witness to every detail of my life, and He’s the One who planned the length of my life before I was even born.
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"God is a Witness to our lives even when no one else is around to see."
In Sara Hagerty's book, Every Bitter Thing is Sweet, a story of the highs and lows of infertility and adoption, Sara shares how she learned that God is a Witness to our lives even when no one else is around to see the milestones. She remembers prayer time with her four-year-old son:
“Thank You, God, for remembering me when my Ethiopian mommy wasn’t around.” He had words for concepts too big for his young mind to fully conceive. Then my girl followed. “Thank You for remembering when I got my ears pierced, even though I don’t remember.” I caught Nate’s eyes and he gave me the look that said we just stumbled onto something holy. Her words, too, were too big for her. An initiation that most girls anticipate for years and then treasure in memory was lost to her. Another unwitnessed mile marker. But wait, there was a Witness.”
I love that, “But wait, there was a witness.” I love that these once-orphan children felt that God had witnessed their lives when they seemed to be forgotten and when they had no earthly mother and father to see their milestones. I often feel unseen. I often wonder if the things I go through matter to anyone. This story reminds me that God is a witness to every detail. “Thank you, God, for seeing me even when no one else noticed what I was going through.”
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"She thought no one cared if she lived or died. But God saw."
It’s not surprising that some of the stories in the Bible I enjoy the most are those where God notices the people others fail to see: the woman at the well, the blind man, the lame man everyone else walks past, and Zacchaeus who had to climb into a tree. But my favorite is the story of a slave called Hagar in the Old Testament. Her mistress made Hagar sleep with her mistress’ husband, and then when Hagar became pregnant with his child, she was treated badly.
Hagar found herself in a situation she didn’t want to be in. Alone, confused, and pregnant; Hagar decided her life wasn’t worth living. She ran away to the desert to die. She thought no one cared if she lived or died. But God saw. God met Hagar in the desert and reminded her that he saw her, that she mattered, and he had a plan for Hagar and her unborn child.
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"God is a Witness. He is the God who sees us."
Genesis 16 tells us that the Special Messenger of the Eternal One found Hagar alone by a spring of water out in the desert. The Special Messenger gives her all kinds of promises from God about his plan for her future. The Bible records what came next: “As a result of this encounter, Hagar decided to give the Eternal One who had spoken to her a special name because He had seen her in her misery. Hagar said: I’m going to call You the “God of Seeing” because in this place I have seen the One who watches over me,” (Genesis 16:13 Voice). Isn't that beautiful? Even when we think no one is watching Hagar’s story reminds us, God is a Witness. He is the God who sees us.
Photo Credit: Unsplash/Oliver Roos
"I did not know how else to get through each day."
God has never sent a special messenger to me in the desert, but he has painted the sky with rainbows. I used to walk into university singing “I hate the world today.” I did not sing it to anyone in particular. I sang it under my breath and in my head. I sang it to all the people I walked past who did not know I was inhaling the same air as them. I sang it in defiance, and I sang it in despair because I did not know how else to get through each day.
Photo Credit: Unsplash/Caleb George
"God started painting the sky for me with rainbows."
Around the same time, God started painting the sky for me with rainbows. It was outrageous and ridiculous and beautiful. Some days I would see three or four rainbows. I would even see rainbows in the sky when it had not rained for days. This continued relentlessly for weeks on end. My only explanation was that these rainbows were denying the laws of nature and upholding the nature of God. I would be singing, “I hate the world,” and then look up to see colors rainbows suspended from the sky with invisible twine.
Photo Credit: Unsplash/Abigail Keenan
"I’d be reminded that God sees me and has a plan for me."
I’d see a rainbow and be reminded that God loved me, that he saw me, and that he would keep his promise to never leave me or forsake me. I’d be reminded that God sees me and has a plan for me. Even years later, I think God sometimes sneaks in a rainbow on a sunny day just to remind me that he will keep his promises and that even when I feel unseen, he sees me.
I get it if today you don’t want to hear that you God sees you and has a plan. There are days when I haven’t wanted to hear it either, but God has always found a way in. My friends have stories about God seeing them too. Some relate stories of hearing a particular song when they feel like they don’t matter, and others have told me how they see a special bird when they need to be reminded that God has a plan for their life.
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"God isn't going to pass you by, write you off, or walk away."
This is what I want you to know about God today: I want you to know that God isn't going to pass you by, write you off, or walk away.
I want you to know that when you thought you were alone, when you felt you were unloved: God witnessed it all, that God saw you. He can pick you out in a crowd, name the hairs on your head, and hold your thoughts in his hands.
I want you to know that God has a plan for you. A plan to give you a hope and a future. He is a God who paints rainbows in the sky to remind you that nothing that is broken can’t be made new. He is a God who makes all things new. All. Things.
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"God sees you and has a plan."
Whether you want to hear it today or not, this is what I want you to know about God today: God sees you and has a plan.
Wendy van Eyck is married to Xylon, who talks non-stop about cycling, and makes her laugh. She writes for anyone who has ever held a loved one’s hand through illness, ever believed in God despite hard circumstances or ever left on a spontaneous 2-week holiday through a foreign land with just a backpack. You can follow Wendy’s story and subscribe to receive her free ebook, “Life, life and more life” at ilovedevotionals.com. She would also love to connect with you on Facebook and Twitter.
Photo Credit: Unsplash/Matthew Meijer
Originally published Thursday, 21 June 2018.