If there's one name of God that I love more than all others, it would be this one - El Roi, the God who sees me. Spoken of by Hagar in Genesis 16:13, I believe her words go deeper than a mere passing observance. Hagar was the slave of Sarai (later to be known as Sarah), whom Sarai had given to her husband Abraham in order to conceive a son. She did conceive, which made her hate her mistress (Genesis 16:4). Sarai took her to task (Genesis 16:6), and Hagar ran away.
Let's stop and think about Hagar's position for a moment. She's a slave. She must do what her mistress tells her. Perhaps Hagar didn't want to lie with Abraham. But she must. And she conceived. That son would not be hers, but Sarai's - the very son Sarai couldn't have. It doesn't take long before there's enmity between the women. Hagar is bitter at Sarai for making her conceive, and Sarai is bitter at Hagar for being able to conceive when she couldn't.
When Hagar runs from her mistress, she literally has nothing. She has no freedom. She has no husband of her own (she was given to Sarai's husband, which makes Sarai the dominant wife and her mistress). She has no friends. Sarai is not kind to her. And she doesn't even have the child growing inside of her, because it will be given to Sarai.
That's when God steps in. This is where the story takes a drastic turn for Hagar. The angel of the Lord appeared to her and says, "God has heard your affliction" (Genesis 16:11). He tells her about the son she will bear, how He will multiply her seed, and He gives her hope for her baby's future. Then she gives the Lord a name - The God Who Sees Me.
Through it all, Hagar had nothing of her own. She had no status in life. Her way was miserable. No one saw her. No one cared for her - except the only One who matters. GOD saw her. GOD cared. And God gave her hope and counsel. This must have blown her away. This must have humbled her greatly. The Almighty God of the universe sees and cares for her, a slave! How can it be?
This is why I love the name "El Roi" so very much. Time and time again, God has shown me that He sees me too. When no one cares or can even understand, God does. When my heart aches, God sees me. When I cry upon my pillow, God sees me. When I sing in my kitchen...God sees me.
Who am I? No one! That's what amazes me. God doesn't have to love me - He chooses to. And like Hagar, when I cry out to Him, He gives me hope and counsel. Often I talk about my love for God and how it consumes me. But if God hadn't loved me first, I wouldn't love Him (1 John 4:19). He cares about what happens in my life. He sees everything.
That's what gives me comfort. I don't hope He sees, I KNOW He does. He shows me all the time. He listens to my afflictions and dries all my tears. He reaches down from Heaven to bring me peace and calm my fears. I don't have to explain myself or give long backstories because He knows already. If He hadn't come into my life much like He came into Hagar's, I would likely drown in my despair.
Everything in my life, God knows about. Every joy and every heartache. I am not lost in a sea of believers, I am singled out. I am not merely one of many in a grand collective, but a very specific jewel the Lord both cuts and appraises.
His goal for my life is to conform me into the image of His Son. In that way, God is very invested in my life. This is how everything works together for the good to those who love Him. Even suffering now serves to mold me into Christ's image, which is the greater good. Pride and self-righteousness are burned away in the Refiner's fire, leaving humility and grace behind.
El Roi reminds me that He is with me always. He knows everything I'm going through. He is not at arms' length, but my very breath. He isn't far away, but in the minutia of my day-to-day. He sees me, not only when I'm at my best, but also when I'm at my worst, grumbling and complaining - even though I'm infinitely rich in Him.
He knows my frame, that I am but dust, and yet He sees - He cares - because I am His child. I belong to Him. Because He sees, I don't have to worry. Because He sees, I know He shall care for me. Any injustice against me is seen by the Singular Eye of Heaven upon me. All my praise is known by Him, every word I speak is heard. Every prayer is listened to.
Within the name of El Roi, God's omniscience is glorified. He is all-knowing. And because He is all-knowing, He sees me. But it is not impersonal, this seeing. He cares about everything that happens to me, as what happens to me, through Christ, also happens to Him (Matthew 25:40, Acts 9:3-5). Because He sees, I can rest in knowing that God will take care of whatever comes my way. He doesn't just see, He cares, He loves, and He is fierce in protecting His own.
This name also comforts me to the uttermost when I am brought low in my loneliness. When I lament that no one seems to understand, there is One who does. If I feel as if my deepest heart of hearts will never be explored, there is One who continually explores it. When I'm unsure if I'll stumble on my way, the Lord sees my steps and guides my path. If the whole world forsakes me and cannot comprehend who I am, it is EL ROI who takes my hand and leads me home.
For He is the only One who truly, lovingly, assuredly, and completely sees me.
Thank You, Yeshua, for knowing - and loving - even me.
"You see the depths of my heart - and you love me the same. You are amazing, God." ~~Chris Tomlin