- Jonathan Schnarr
The God Who Sees You
How does the thought of God knowing all about you make you feel? Here's Jonathan, our Youth Minister, with this week's blog post about the God who sees us all.
A few weeks back I went to the cinema and watched Avatar II. Despite all it's criticism, I was amazed by its cinematography and marveled at the filmmaking as the blue Na'vi flew through the air or dived under water. One phrase in particular stood out to me, which was repeated throughout the whole movie: "I see you." It's the official greeting of the Na'vi people in the Avatar universe, it serves as a statement of respect, but also acceptance, care and ultimately love, as explored throughout the film.
In Genesis 16:13 we find a very similar statement as we read about Hagar's escape: After God met with her beside a spring, she responds and calls him: 'El Roi' – 'The God who sees me.'
This story about Hagar, Abram and Sarai is written on the very first pages of our Bibles where we meet people who wrestle with love, deception, jealousy, complicated family relations and continuous distrust in God's provision and goodness. But somehow God always stays loyal. Somehow God draws close again and again and meets with people when they hit rock bottom, even if it was very much their own doing that brought them to that place.
In chapter 16 we read that God appears to the pregnant Hagar in the desert and he enters into a conversation. He sees the hurt, the shame, the frustration and anger, the violence and oppression. He sees her in that moment when it mattered most. When Hagar thought that her life had ended, God appeared and turned everything upside down: He saw Hagar.
This story in the Old Testament and Hagar's joyful declaration to 'El Roi' reminds us that God is still in the business of staying loyal and drawing close to people wherever they are. Today, God sees us, too! He sees our enjoyment, he rejoices in our successes, he feels our pain or loneliness, He empathises with our embarrassment or frustration. He wants to be part of our lives and be involved in our decision-making, every single day.
This can be a scary idea: to know that God sees and knows everything, including every image I have seen and every thought I have ever entertained in my mind.
However, for Hagar it was a moment of reassurance. It prompted her to rejoice in praise and motivated her to return to Abram and continue to play her part in God's story: Simply because she realised that God really is present with her.
Coincidentally, this verse has been chosen by the Lutheran Church in Germany as the verse for the year 2023. Over the next 12 months countless Bible Studies, songs and services will be led with this theme in mind. Maybe we, too, can reflect on this verse over the next week?
Where do you need God to see you? Where do you need him to draw alongside you and turn everything upside down?
I hope and pray you will encounter 'El Roi' this week: The God who really sees us.
Jonathan, Youth Minister
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