The God Who Sees
"She gave this name to the LORD who spoke to her: 'You are the God who sees me.'" Genesis 16:13a (NIV)
It's common, everyday. He tells me it's nothing, but I know better.
This single parent single-handedly holds each strand of his small daughter's hair as her little brother stands by. It's getting late, but he must continue ridding the unwelcome "guests." Comb and wash and comb again until father, daughter and son fall into bed, exhausted.
I send him this message, "You're making great memories." Folded under their daddy's wings, they'll remember sleeping under his safety and care.
He dismisses my encouragement: his kiddos won't recall this vacation, his sacrifice of rising early and staying up late, or the tedious job of removing lice. He says the only thing his 3- and 5-year-old birds will remember is being zonked out.
What about him? Shins kicked by size 2 feet, hot milky breath in his face, and blurry eyes still open as the sun rises on the next day of their vacation. These are what he bets he'll remember, and no one else will ever realize.
But I know better. Common moments, built one upon the other, create great lifetimes. These moments are mostly free, yet costly. Their currency? Time, energy, selflessness, dreams and yes, sleep. All create a life of loving well and building deep.
Reminds me of a story I read years ago by Nicole Johnson. Opening the coffee table book about magnificent cathedrals, she paused to soak in the inscription. "With admiration for the greatness of what you are building when no one sees."
This story hidden in the pages of her book is recounted. "No one can say who built the great cathedrals - we have no record of their names. These builders gave their whole lives for this work. The passion for their building was fueled by their faith that the eyes of God saw everything.
A man visited the cathedral while it was being built, and he saw a workman carving a tiny bird on the inside of a beam. He asked, 'Why are you spending so much time carving that bird into a beam that will be covered by the roof? No one will ever see it.' The workman replied, 'Because God sees.'"
Yes, I knew better. Knew that my single-parent friend and his sleepless night were building something grand. Knew that even though he felt alone, he wasn't. God saw him just as He saw the woman in our key verse. In the desert, alone. Today's scripture reminds us that one of the names of the Lord, El Roi, means, "The God who sees."
Indeed, God sees each of our everyday efforts, whether with our kids or other children in our lives. Keeping watch late at night for them to arrive home safely. Folding the 11th basket of clothes . . . today. Cooking dinner with no "thank you" given. Dribbling the basketball with the neighborhood kids or volunteering at a summer camp. Though costly in many ways, these actions will pay off in building up a child's confidence of being loved, assurance of belonging, knowledge of being 'worth it.'
Whether you are investing in your own children, or someone else's, keep up the greatness in the common moments. It may seem like nothing, but it matters. It's building. It's seen.
Dear Lord, I can get so weary and tired persisting in building greatness in the everyday moments of life. It often feels like no one notices or appreciates me. Thank You for confirming that YOU see me. Help that be enough. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
Reflect and Respond:
Common moments, built one upon the other, create great lifetimes. These moments are mostly free, yet costly. Their currency? Time, energy, selflessness, dreams and yes, sleep. All create a life of loving well and building deep.
Psalm 139: 2-3, "You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from afar. You search out my path and my lying down and are acquainted with all my ways." (ESV)
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