“Don’t push.” That’s what the nurse said as she got directly in my face. I’m a rule follower, but this one sounded crazy as every fiber in my being was screaming to push the sweet kid out.
My husband and I had checked in to the hospital early that morning, eagerly anticipating meeting our first born that day. We got settled in for what we thought would be a long day, and the doctor said she would be back after lunch time to check on me. Before she left, she broke my water and ordered some Pitocin…(if I could insert some dramatic music here I would!)
Less than 45 minutes later and my husband and I were pushing the nurse’s button on the bed rail for help. This baby was ready!
Epidural? No time!
Thankfully I had attended some childbirth classes to keep me focused and breathing. The doctor rushed back in and everyone was scurrying around me. Don’t push yet? Can anyone see that I’m in the throes of labor with no control over these sudden and massive contractions? I did my best and maybe just snuck a little one in for relief. A few minutes later, our baby girl arrived safely and I was proud to be a new mommy with a birth story. (You know we all love our birth stories!)
From that moment on I have been studying and watching that little girl grow. I can tell you almost anything and everything about her—her favorite activities, her fears, and how she responds to certain situations. When she was a baby I knew what each cry meant. And I still know when she needs encouragement and when she needs correction.
She just turned eleven this week and I planned to give her a gift that she had mentioned a while back and had forgotten about. I had fun wrapping it because I knew it would surprise her that I had remembered. As her mother, I could do this because I see everything about her—watch her go about her days, I listen to her desires, and know what speaks to her heart.
I love how the Lord uses a simple activity, like wrapping a gift, and other visuals to remind us of precious truths about Himself. As I was cutting out the paper, I felt Him say, “just like I see you, know every detail about you, and know what speaks to your heart.” Just as I have known my daughters from birth, our Father has known me, and you, as well!
There are many names of God that reveal aspects of His character. One that has spoken to me recently is the name, Jehovah Roi—the God Who Sees.
We first learn the name, the God Who Sees, in chapter 16 of Genesis as we read about Hagar. Hagar was the hand maiden of Sarah, Abraham’s barren wife. The Lord had promised Abraham that he would have a son, but time passed with no children. Sarah decided to take matters into her own hands. Since she had not yet conceived, she figured that the solution was for Abraham to have children through Hagar. Hagar conceived and became bitter with her mistress, Sarah, who in turn, mistreated her pregnant hand maiden. Hagar attempted to escape the situation. She fled, but was met on the road by the angel of the Lord. He tenderly instructed her to return to Sarah, to name her son Ishmael, and that her descendants would be too numerous to count. As a result of that encounter, Hagar named the Lord “You are the God who sees me.”
Ishmael was not to be the child of the promise, but the Lord still saw Hagar where she was and met her there. Why did He meet her there? Because He sees and He knows and He is sovereign.
It’s pretty humbling to think that our Father really does see and know everything about us. But do you, like me, sometimes feel like the Lord doesn’t see you? That perhaps He has passed you by for someone more “worthy?” Or because of circumstances in your life, that he obviously doesn’t care because He has allowed those things to happen? How could He “see” me if I feel this alone? Overworked? Unappreciated? Mistreated?
Psalm 139 tells us that the Lord knows when we sit and when we rise, and that He is familiar with all of our ways. Our body was not hidden from Him in our mother’s womb, and all of our days were written in His book before one of them came to be. In other words, He knows each detail of our lives and even knows what the future holds for each of us.
Just as He saw Hagar, He sees us in both our desperate times and in our joyful times. He is not distant and uncaring. He is not unknowing or unaware. He sees you and he sees me.
That does not mean that our lives will be easy with His eye upon us. Hagar was sent back to her harsh mistress, and we may continue to struggle under difficult circumstances too. While that may not seem “fair,” the hand of our Sovereign Lord allows situations to happen in our lives because He sees the outcome that those will produce. He foresees who we will become and doesn’t want to leave us in the infant stage of our walk with Him. Walking obediently alongside Him, He will prune and shape a beautiful vessel for His glory that He sees as pleasing in His sight.
Like Hagar, we may feel like running away from the issues in our lives. But we have a God that doesn’t leave us there alone. He sees when we have been hurt by a loved one. He sees when we are treated unfairly at work. He sees when our kids are struggling and we feel like failures as parents. Our Lord is ready to meet with us when we run to Him. There are even times when our merciful God sees our weak attempts to run away, but chooses to stop us in our tracks, reveal Himself to us, and turn us back renewed in His strength.
It’s not just the harder times that He sees us though. He delights in seeing us, His children, in the simple and joyful moments as well. He sees us interceding for others! He sees us pick up the pieces of a broken relationship and trust Him for healing! He sees us exuberant over His creation! And He even sees the daily routines of caring for our families! You know, like packing lunches (again), carpooling to soccer practice, and ironing clothes (well, maybe throwing them in the dryer instead sometimes!)
Giving birth to that little one 11 years ago, though physically tough and painful, was one of the easiest parts of motherhood! The daily challenges are what always keep me on my toes. And let’s be honest, being a mom brings out the best and worst in us! But I am so thankful that in spite of my less-than-stellar moments, the Lord is teaching me how much He loves and sees me as I relate that to how much I love and see my girls as they grow.
I praise Him for being our Jehovah Roi!