As someone who’s had their fair share of run-ins with anxiety and stress, my eyes perk up when I read scripture that pertains to sure-fire ways to find peace. Peace, especially when paired with its more elusive companion, quiet, can be difficult to find in my house. I have two little girls who have lots of energy and volume no matter the time of day. I love them dearly, but this post is about peace, which they do not provide. Or encourage. Or apparently care to experience at all… ever. Back to the point.
In Genesis, we find the story of Hagar. Hagar was the servant of Abram’s wife, Sarai. When Sarai had no children, she gave Hagar to Abram so that he would father a child through her. Things got a bit tense between Sarai and Hagar once Hagar became pregnant and eventually Hagar ran away. While Hagar is on the lamb, she runs into the angel of the Lord. You know, as one does. The angel says to her, “return to your mistress and submit to her.” He then promises that she’ll have many descendants who will probably have a bit of a rough life based on the angel’s description.
Hagar’s response is one that woke me up a little. In Genesis 16:13 Hagar says, “You are the God who sees me… I have seen the one who sees me.” After this encounter with the Angel of the Lord, Hagar returns to Abram and Sarai. She submits and stays with Abram and Sarai until she is eventually sent away by them.
I honestly don’t know if the dynamic between Sarai and Hagar ever changed. And the Angel of the Lord didn’t say whether it would or would not. But, Hagar showed that she had enough peace to go back even if it didn’t. So how does one go from running away to the wilderness to finding peace and going back to what would probably be a somewhat hostile situation? The key is in how you see it. Hagar realized that God saw her. He was aware of her and cared enough for her to show up in her life in a tangible way. Not only did he see her, but he allowed her to see him. So he showed up in a tangible way which allowed her to see him seeing her. That changed everything.
God knows us. He knows our pains and he knows our struggles. He sees us and he allows us to see him. Jeremiah 29:13 says, “You will seek me and find me when you search for me with all your heart.” God wants us to see Him. And he wants us to see Him seeing us. God cares deeply for us. He sees us. He sees you. And it is there, in being seen and recognized by a loving and caring God, that peace resides. Even if the four-year-old is screaming for snacks.