Youth Workers are always on the go.  We know in our brains that the busier things get the more we need some time alone with God.  Yet, we also know that the busier things get the easier it is to let that time slowly slip away.  Whether it’s a summer mission trip back to back with VBS or when Confirmation, Easter and the end of the school year celebrations all land within three weeks of each other, we’ve all experienced the “busy” seasons… the times when we’re not even sure we have time to breathe and use the restroom, let alone stop and spend time with Jesus.

This series of devotions is designed to help us pause in those busy times, even for just a moment, and connect with our Savior. Pull one out at the rest stop on the way to the mission trip or in your office after lunch in the middle of VBS week.  Press pause for a few short moments, turn your attention to God and let him fill you up again so you can get back out there and do all the awesome things He has planned for you!

They are each centered on a name for God and include a Scripture reference, a devotional story/thought and some questions to ponder as you press “play” again. 

Seen. Known. Loved.

She gave this name to the Lord who spoke to her: “You are the God who sees me,” for she said, “I have now seen the One who sees me.” (Genesis 16:13)

The story isn’t one we often cover in Sunday School.  Somewhere between Abram confidently following God and being willing to sacrifice the son he waited so long for, we can forget the story of Hagar.  But God doesn’t forget.

Right there in Genesis 16 Sarai was getting impatient.  God had promised Sarai and Abram a son but they hadn’t seen Him fulfill that promise.  In her impatience, Sarai tells her servant, Hagar, to have a child with her husband.  Yet, as often is the case when we take things into our own hands, Sarai didn’t feel better, but rather worse about the situation.  In her pain and frustration she mistreats Hagar to the point that Hagar flees.

As Hagar is running away the angel of the Lord meets her and tells her to go back, promising many blessings.  In that moment we hear one of the most beautiful names for God I’ve ever heard: El-Roi, “the God who sees me”. 

I’m sure you’ve been in that moment before… the time when you wonder if people see all you do or what has been done to you.  The truth is, they don’t.  They don’t see the late night texts with a teenager in need.  They don’t really even think about who sets up the tables each week.   Others aren’t there as you shed tears while sharing someone’s pain and grief. The countless visits to the hospital or the extra work in the evenings at home are left unnoticed. The endless phone calls to get that fundraiser or summer trip set up are lost on most.

However, there is One who see it all!  Just like He saw Hagar in the midst of her trials and pain, the Creator, Savior, and Sustainer of the Universe sees YOU.  Not only are you seen and known by the Lord, but you are loved. He sees EVERYTHING, even the things we might rather Him not see, and in THAT moment, he says, “I love you.” He sees us through the shed blood of Jesus that wraps us in His love. Like the woman at the well (John 4), or the one caught in adultery (John 8)… like Adam and Eve hiding in the bushes, he calls out “where are you?”, though He’s known all along.  He calls out not to condemn but to wrap in love.  See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are! (1 John 3:1)

Rest today in the loving Father who sees you fully, knows you completely, and loves you deeply!

Lord, how comforting it is to know that You see us.  You see right into our hearts… every emotion, every thought, every prayer.  You see and You act. Open my own eyes today that like Hagar I might be able to say, “I have seen the One who sees me”.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

How does it make you feel today to know that God is One who truly sees you, all of you, all of what you do and more importantly, all of who you are?  Who else in your life today could use a reminder that God is a God who sees?  Find a way to share that truth with them.