“So she called the name of the Lord who spoke to her, “You are a God of seeing,” for she said, “Truly here I have seen him who looks after me.” 14 Therefore the well was called Beer-lahai-roi; it lies between Kadesh and Bered.” Genesis 16:13-14 ESV
Happy New Year! The first blog of 2022. I thought the over achiever in me would have had this written the first week of the year, but, to be honest, I have enjoyed easing into the new year without the pressure to write. So today the inspiration and the Holy Spirit said to pick up my computer and type. Here we go... Enjoy!
Today I want you to know... God sees you. It is not an occasional glance like I do sometimes when walking my dog while being on my phone at the same time scrolling through social media. I can hear the jingle of his collar and occasionally look up to see where he is as he enjoys his walk, but I cannot say that my whole attention is captivated by his every move. We have a pattern, and he is predictable. Well, let me correct that. Most of the time he is and that brings me to the illustration in this devotion.
There was a moment when I thought he was lost, and it happened in a matter of seconds. It was dark and very cold outside, but I thought he needed a walk anyway so out we went into the tundra. He did his normal route and started heading home. Now, I usually walk him in the day. It is warmer, and I can see him no matter where he goes on the property. Most of the time he gets ahead of me as he pursues his path towards home, and I meet him on the front porch. But this night was different. As he went ahead just far enough in the dark for me to lose sight of his white spots, he decided to take a left turn. This was a left turn I was not anticipating and did not see. When I got to the house I found an empty porch. Where was Bandit? I called out and didn’t hear the jingle of his collar. I retraced my steps but still no Bandit. My phone flashlight was all I had, and it was not doing the job. I called my daughter and asked her to join the search party as my heart sank into despair thinking that my dog was lost in the surrounding fields, or worse, in the pond. Let your mind take it from there. With the help of a good and much larger flashlight, my daughter yelled to me the good news. She found him about 100 yards from the house sitting quietly by a trashcan looking like he knew he was lost. He is nearly 16 and was probably wondering how he got there. So was I!
There will be times when we too disappear into darkness. Deserts where we feel alone, worried, and wondering what in the world we are going to do. Did anyone see us take that left turn when we should have gone straight on the path that was prepared for us? Maybe you are sitting by the “trashcan” knowing you are lost but wondering if anyone is looking for you. I am thankful we serve a God who darkness is as light to Him. He is ever seeing, ever knowing and, even though He sets a path for us to follow, knows when we turn left even in the dark shadows. Hagar in our scripture today had a few left turns happen to her. After agreeing with Sarah to be Abraham’s concubine so he could help God out with the whole “heir” thing to fulfill God’s promise, the plan backfires and she finds herself in the desert, alone and frightened. Does anyone see her? Where is Abraham? Where is Sarah? They took their left turns too, but why is it Hagar who is alone in the desert? Every time I read this story my heart goes out to her. Life got hard and she ran. Sarah’s jealousy took its toll on Hagar and out of desperation, Hagar took a left turn. She probably didn’t think about where she was going. She just took off to get away from the pain.
Have you ever done that? I know pastors who left churches by taking painful left turns and found themselves out of ministry altogether. There are some who left the doctor’s office and cancer spoke a fearful declaration of discouragement, and, in desperation, you took a left turn. Maybe there are divorce papers on the kitchen counter to sign because somebody took a left turn. That pile of unpaid bills from 2021 and a not so full checking account can be the product of inflation and left turns. Pain, hurt, and despair did not go away when the calendar flipped its pages. If this is you sitting by the “trashcan” hoping there is a search party with more than an iPhone flashlight, please know... God sees you!
The first time I was introduced to Beer-lahai-roi was when I was introduced to a life-giving and lifesaving crisis pregnancy ministry with the same name. We support this outreach to mothers who have had some left turn experiences because it is there where they learn that God knows where they are and is committed to caring for them. Life is not necessarily easy for them, but it is a lot like what Hagar experienced when the angel made her aware that God knew exactly where she was and why she was there. “Truly here I have seen him who looks after me.” Babies are coming into the world with moms who know God looks out for them. Without this ministry, some of these precious children may not have been born or in some circumstances far, far worse. To learn more about this ministry go to www.Beerlahairoi.com.
If you are in a spot where you just don’t know what to do, stop running and know that God sees you and is there to help you. I have been there. Just like Bandit sitting in the dark wondering what happened. But God came to me with His big flashlight, called His Word, and through His loving truth, directed my footsteps back home to Him and those who love and help me. Hagar would need help again after this experience and sure enough, God was there. No matter how many left turns, God knows where you are and if you will listen, you too will know what to do next.