Conor set himself into a walk.
A walk after Harry.
It was not that he was actually invisible, the monster said, following Conor, the room volume dropping as they passed. It was that the people had become used to not seeing him.
"Hey!" Conor called. Harry didn't turn around. Neither did Sully nor Anton, though they were still sniggering as Conor picked up his pace.
And if no one sees you, the monster said, picking up its pace, too, are you really there at all?
- Patrick Ness, A Monster Calls
Her name is Hagar, and she is introduced in Genesis 16. She's a servant, and her story is a little (well, a lot) crazy. Basically, her mistress, Sarai, is unable to have children. In a desperate attempt to build a family, Sarai "gives" Hagar to her husband, Abram. Abram and Hagar sleep together, Hagar conceives a child, and nothing could possibly go wrong.
OF COURSE, this backfires horribly. Nobody saw that coming, right?! Sarai thinks Hagar has a bad attitude, gets upset, and complains to Abram. Abram replies, "do whatever you think is best" (seriously?), and Sarai's decision is to mistreat Hagar so horribly that Hagar flees with her pregnant belly into the wilderness.
Holy moly. What a mess! Dysfunction with a capital D. All of this from Abram and Sarai, later Abraham and Sarah, you know, like the father and mother of Isaac and grandparents of Jacob (Israel). Yet God loves them in their mess, sees their hearts, and makes a covenant with them. They are faithful, admirable people who fear God but stumble still, entangling Hagar in it all.
She seems to be in the ultimate worst-case scenerio: A past that's been out of her control, an abusive present, a scary and unknown future. So maybe her pregnancy hormones kicked in a little too strongly one day, but who can blame a girl for that? Ultimately, she's stuck out in the desert, pregnant, through very little fault of her own. She feels unloved, unseen, and completely invisible.
However, as she wanders in the wilderness, her story changes. She encounters God in the wilderness, as many of us do. I know I have. And there in the desert, with the hot dust whirling around her, an angel tells her to return to Abram and Sarai, submit to them, and name her son Ishmael.
Now other than the obvious detail that people don't see angels very often, it is also super rare in the Bible that a person is named by God before their birth. The fact that Hagar experiences both of these is incredible! She recognizes this, and instead of complaining to God or arguing with the angel about her situation, she realizes that, for the first time, she is noticed. I love how the NIV explains her reaction:
This story also made me think about all of the wonderful people in my life that I pass each day. I wonder if, as a representative of Christ, I let them see the God Who Sees in me. Do I show people that I see them, that I want to know them, that I am interested in them? Does my family ever feel like I am not fully present around them? Do my students ever feel invisible around me? Do my coworkers and friends ever feel ignored? Do I attempt to connect with the people I encounter each day- not to talk about myself, but to listen to what they are really saying? Do I observe their body language for what they are not saying?
Do I reflect a God who sees?
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