In times of waiting, it is so easy to think that you or your dreams are forgotten. Sometimes, we take the waiting as God saying no. Other times, we forget the things that we’ve been called to because doors haven’t necessarily opened. Or we push forward, confusing “waiting expectantly” with “let me do this, and this, and this” as a way to get ready for whatever it is we're waiting for.
While waiting, I’ve sometimes felt like God was calling me to stillness: “Be still and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10). Knowing that he is God, and I am not, makes closed doors a little more palatable. I’ve also felt called to sit back and let God take action: “The Lord will fight for you, you need only to be still” (Exodus 14:14). But it is so easy to fill up life with so much activity when you are trying to make your plans come to fruition. The struggle is real!
Though these Bible verses are encouraging, keeping still is hard. And sometimes, keeping still feels like nothing will change. It tests our patience—being long-suffering—which often results, at least for me, in feelings of being forgotten by God along the way. A great example of the tendencies of the human heart! But as is so often the case, God gently reminds me this is not so. I am not forgotten I am not out of his sight.
From Pastor Mark’s sermon last week on the calling of the disciples (John 1:35-51), these three things stood out to me: Jesus sees, Jesus knows and Jesus calls. Of these three, the first has always held a special place in my heart: Jesus sees. He sees me and he sees you. The God of the universe sees us.
One of my favorite Bible verses is Genesis 16:13:
She [Hagar] 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.
In Hebrew, the God who sees is El Roi. I investigated the word “see” in the Cambridge English dictionary and found many modern ways we use the word “see”. And every one of them applies to how El Roi (God) sees us.
Dictionary definitions of “see”:
o be aware of something around you by using your eyes
o understand, know, notice
o consider someone in a particular way or as doing a particular activity
o meet, visit, or spend time with someone
o make certain that something happens
o experience something
El Roi does all these:
o Jesus is aware.
o Jesus understands.
o God considers (calls) you for a particular activity.
o God meets, visits, and spends time with his people.
o God makes his certain will happen.
o The Holy Spirit allows you to experience God.
In this world, where loneliness and anxiety are the top feelings people feel, it is amazing to remember that the God of the universe is El Roi. As told in John chapter one, Jesus noticed his disciples. I’ve always imagined he saw them before they saw him. This is the experience for us today too. God saw you knit in your mother’s womb. God sees you struggle in your day to day life. God sees that you are particularly suited for something. God’s seeing us goes hand-in-hand with his knowing us.
As Jesus’ disciples, we’re called to do the same: to notice, see and seek to see Him, and then to notice, see and seek to see people who need Him. And when our seeing is delayed, as when we’re longing to see whatever we’ve been called to, we wait.