I can still remember the nights I cried out, my heart writhing in the pain of rejection so deep my whole being ached. I can still see myself, lying broken from the depression on my bedroom floor, wanting to give up. I will never forget the emptiness I felt, the hopelessness, the darkness closing in, believing, “I am NOTHING anybody wants. I don’t matter.”
Where were you, God?
Were you there in the silence filled room with the girl who was letting go? Were you there in chaotic rage of emotion as I struggled through debilitating anxiety and self harming thoughts?
I have accused you, God, “You could’ve swooped down and saved me. You could’ve rushed in and changed everything! Where was the burning bush?! Where was your audible voice convincing me to stop?! Why weren’t you there?”
We have such a big God, it seems logical to think: if you are so big, then how I experience you should be big. However, However, the God who created the mountain, also created the flea. He is the one who gave us seeds and crumbs. His breath is not only in the gales but stirs the tiniest of breezes.
Have you missed Him? I have. How? It’s easy to see THE BIG-NESS of our troubles, and miss the precision of His presence. We get lost in our own narrative of what we think God should do, and often overlook the intimacy of His care and the moving of His hand in our favor- especially when it reveals it self through the small smile of a stranger, the phone call of a friend “just checking in,” or the tiny droplets of rain on my window that lead me to believe that I am not crying alone.
I was reading in Genesis about Abraham. Abraham went to Egypt, lied to a king, still had God’s favor and was able to leave the situation better off than he entered it. This story is about Abraham, right? Or maybe it’s about his wife, Sarah? Or the king?
If you only focus on the most obvious scenario, you may fail to see God’s provision in the details. This paragraph, out of the story of Abraham’s life, tells about God’s protection for a lost and hurting girl, the one that He had His eye on: Hagar.
In Genesis 12:14-16: When Abram came to Egypt the Egyptians saw that she [Sarai] was a very beautiful woman. And when Pharaoh’s officials saw her, they praised her to Pharaoh and she was taken into his palace. He treated Abram well for her sake, and Abram acquired sheep and cattle, male and female donkeys, men servants and maid servants, and camels.” (Emphasis mine)
Wait, what? Did you miss it? (You may have, but I wrote it in italics for you!) He didn’t send armies. He didn’t send fire or plagues. He used a man’s mistake, a man who’s story overshadow’s hers, yet she is never off God’s radar. Have we read this passage and neglected seeing His provision for one of the marginalized? Have we overlooked it because the story of Abraham is greater? Or because it’s not flashy and magnificent like we would like?
God led her to a place that probably didn’t feel like a rescue, it didn’t feel like freedom or deliverance, but it was where she could find Him, and also know, that she was seen by Him.
She didn’t live a life that was free from hardship. She was used, abused and discarded. She was broken and hurt and she herself set out to hurt others because of that.
But that never disqualified her place in God’s heart.
In fact, it opened her up to know Him, and to know His voice.
Read the story because it’s not hard to pass over. It’s common to get caught up in believing God has His eye on everyone else except us. It’s easy to believe that we are drifting along, unseen, unknown, all on our own. But just like God used a seemingly insignificant detail to bring Hagar closer to Him, He is also allowing and aligning things in our lives so we can look back and know that we were always seen.
Take time to stop today and look for where you might have been distracted by the immensity of hardships in your life, instead of finding His provision in His precision. You may very well discover that in the loneliest of places, you were never truly alone.