PUCKETT: Does anybody see? Does anybody care?
It is not a matter of being visible. Even though we may feel invisible at times, we can be seen. There is a difference between being seen and being noticed. These days not much goes unseen. Cameras are everywhere. We might be the most photographed generation ever. But, is anybody really seeing, noticing or caring?
There is a story in the Old Testament of the Bible concerning a gal named Hagar. The story is found in Genesis, chapter 16. Hagar was a slave from Egypt owned by a Hebrew from Canaan named Abraham. Hagar was likely purchased in the slave market in Egypt on one of Abraham’s trips. Hagar was assigned to be handmaid to Abraham’s wife, Sarah. It is likely that Hagar was a teenager at this point.
Hagar’s mistress, Sarah, was barren. She had not had any children, which in that culture deemed any female almost worthless. Sarah was so distressed over her childlessness that she devised a most drastic plan. Since she could not get pregnant and give Abraham a child, she would appoint Hagar as her surrogate child-bearer. Sarah told Abraham that Hagar was available to bed and encouraged Abraham to take her.
Imagine Hagar’s dismay at being placed in this untenable situation. Being a slave, she had little choice. She crawled into bed with Abraham who was an old man at the time and conceived a child. You would think Hagar would be honored for her obedience and her success in getting pregnant. Hagar was well on her way to becoming an esteemed member of the household, except attitudes changed. Hagar did become a bit uppity, thinking she was indispensable. Sarah responded in anger and jealousy and literally drove Hagar out of the household.
Hagar packed up and left. There were no homeless shelters, no government agencies where she could seek justice. She went into the desert, into the wasteland of what is now southern Israel. Hagar traveled a ways in the desert heat and sat down by a well of water.
The term “victim” comes to mind here. Hagar was a single girl who was pregnant in a foreign country, but not by her own choice. She could not go back to Egypt. Who would believe her wild story? So, she sat at the well obviously distressed and despondent.
There was no government agency to help her, but there was help. The angel of the LORD came to her and spoke to her. The angel instructed Hagar to humble herself and go back to Sarah and do whatever it took to make the situation work. The angel pronounced a blessing over Hagar. Hagar’s response was to give this angel a name, “You are the God who sees me” (Genesis 16:13). Hagar was seen and cared for.
No matter how or where you see yourself, there is One who sees you right where you are and One who cares. Hagar was still a single, pregnant girl in an oppressive atmosphere, but now she knew there was a God who sees her and cares for her.
Dan Puckett works with road team operations at Life Action Ministries in Buchanan, Michigan.