You Are Seen

I do not begin to know all the struggles single moms face, but I did have a front-row seat to witness some of the difficulties my mother suffered as she, by herself, raised two kids on the poverty level income of a small Baptist college English teacher. I saw the emotional and physical strain my mother was under, and it definitely had an emotional impact on me as a young child.

At the end of a long day, my weary mother would come to my bedside and pray for me. Often, I could not help but show my hurt and concern for what little I knew about our situation. Through my tears she would comfort me from God’s Word. It always had a calming affect me as she shared soothing counsel from the Bible.

Mother would tell me the story of Hagar in Genesis 16. She was a Gentile handmaid who, because of circumstances beyond her control, was pregnant by her mistress’ husband, and then forced into the wilderness because of it. Troubled at the prospects of her future, the angel of the Lord came and assured her that God was going to take care of her.

At this point in the story, my mother would quote Hagar in the King James Version of verse 13: “Thou God seest me”. My mother would then say, “Jimmy Dale, God sees you, God sees Pamela Jo, and God sees me, no matter how bad things get. He knows all about us, and He will take care of us.” It’s wonderful to know you are seen by anyone, but especially to be seen by God when you’re hurting.

Often, my mother added that God knows when a sparrow “falls”. The point of that Scripture is that if God cares for a little sparrow, certainly He will take of us (Matthew 10:29-31). In Jesus’ day, two sparrows were sold for a penny, but if the buyer was willing to part with an additional penny, he got not only four sparrows, but five of them. The extra one was thrown in as having no value at all. It was considered worthless.

Yet, according to Jesus, not even one “useless” sparrow would “fall” to the ground without God knowing about it. The English language implies that God takes note of every time one of these grubby gray-brown birds falls to its death, obviously one of the most significant moments in that pitiful creature’s life. But that is not what the original language of the Bible meant. My mother gave a more truthful reading of it.

Mother was not a Biblical linguist, but she, through perhaps personal study or hearing a good preacher or teacher, accurately rendered for me the Greek translation of the Aramaic word for “fall” in this verse. It meant to “to light upon the ground”, not fall to its death. In other words, every time a sparrow “hops”, God notices it. He counts each of the millions of “skips” and alternating “flits” in a sparrow’s life.

So if God notices something so insignificant in a sparrow’s moment-by-moment movements, how much more does He care about our daily struggles. He sees each labored step you take. God watches as you lumber into work – as you plod into a difficult meeting – as you trudge into the classroom – as you limp into the doctor’s office – as you retreat into a lonely home. He knows all about you because as Hagar said, “Thou God seest me”.



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