Dispatches

Longing to Be Seen

The Creator built it into our DNA

I have never been fond of the childhood game Hide and Seek. Even as a very young girl, my preference for introversion meant that I was most comfortable cocooned in hidden places. The prospect of being found can be frightening for one who prefers to remain tucked away.  

In adulthood, though introspection comes as naturally as breathing for me, I have learned that extroversion is considered the norm. I am not shy; I am fairly confident and assertive. My soul is simply most energized in the sweet balm of solitude. But there is a complexity to this desire to remain hidden because, no matter how frightened we are of being found, we are born with a longing to be seen. 

I know of this hunger to be seen. It is not to be confused with a quest for fame and prestige. Nor is it about visual perception and acknowledgment. It is not counter to humility either, as some may suggest. Humility is never about being small, unseen and unnoticed. You see, our Creator built this desire to be seen in our DNA. And from the beginning of time, He planned to fulfill it, with the knowledge that no one else could.

In Scripture, God is given the name El Roi, “the God who sees me,” by an Egyptian slave named Hagar. Hagar knew about God. She must have wondered if He knew or cared about her situation. In an attempt to flee mistreatment and oppression, Hagar took off in the direction of her homeland. She was pregnant and alone, facing a menacing desert. Her future was uncertain and her past too tender to recall. She felt abandoned by everyone on earth and overlooked by God in heaven. Hagar was a girl who had lived through fractured ambition and unmet promises, and what she wanted, what she most yearned for, is what any of us want: to be seen. And she was. Hagar felt lost and misplaced, and yet God found her. 

There is a deep-seated significance in a “God who sees me,” particularly for those in society who at times feel insignificant or powerless. When I stop to reflect on the import of El Roi, I see with unquestionable certainty, the God who seeks for us in the desert, in the midst of confusion and loss, and who encourages us to face the obstacles in our lives with renewed purpose and strength. We are significant enough to be sought after, noticed and beheld by God. And though there may be times when we feel overlooked by some, there is faith in a God who sees the promise of the fullest expression of who we are meant to be. 

The name El Roi gives significance to our treasure as a people. It implies that God sees our hearts. He sees the unabridged truth about every situation. And because God sees us, we are never forsaken. He is a God who will challenge, who will comfort, who will shelter and who will redeem. 

What has been so profoundly revealed to me in this season of life is that loneliness and invisibility in proper perspective drive us to our Creator. He is the only one who can meet us in complete intimacy, knowing us fully and loving us perfectly. 

She gave this name to the Lord who spoke to her. ‘You are the God who sees me.’” ~ Genesis 16:13 

Major Lori Miller is assistant Women’s Ministries secretary/Community Care Ministries secretary for the Kentucky/Tennessee Division. 

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