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L.O.V.E. (Let Our Voices Encourage) Devotions

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Hope for the Overlooked Heart


“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.’”

Genesis 16:13


I remember the moment as if it were in slow motion. Every syllable of the word made me shrink a little smaller as he called me invisible.

It happened years ago when my husband was in a ministry that traveled to churches to lead worship. We spent a week at a small church in south Georgia. One of the members opened his home for a hamburger dinner after the last service on Wednesday night. We ate and laughed with his family. We listened to him tell vivid stories with a thick Southern accent.

When it was time to go, I stood by my husband as our host offered a boisterous goodbye to the other guests. But when he approached me, he looked confused, as if he’d never met me before.

“Well, you’re just invisible back there, aren’t ya?” he told me.

It wasn’t said with malice. It was just a matter-of-fact statement. After a week at his church and an evening in his home, I was as forgettable as a stranger.

I felt embarrassed, insignificant and so alone that night, surrounded by all those people.

Feeling invisible hurts. If we could sit down together and swap stories, you could probably share a moment when you felt deeply unseen. Every heart longs to be noticed. Simply open up Facebook or Instagram for proof that people everywhere will do just about anything to be seen.

But for most of us, being seen isn’t an empty ploy for attention. It’s a deep and abiding desire to be truly known. In our attempt to fulfill this desire, we desperately turn to the distracted world around us and wonder, Does anybody really see my heart?

The hard truth is that people aren’t always great at seeing each other. Only when something is loud, exciting, shiny or new are we prompted to lift our heads and notice. That means for most of us — the average women — we feel the sting of being overlooked.

Our key verse comes from a woman who must have felt much like I did that day in south Georgia — invisible. Hagar was an Egyptian servant who was pregnant with Abraham’s illegitimate child and was fleeing the harsh words of her mistress, Sarah, in Genesis 16. All alone in her wilderness, she encountered a life-changing truth: There is a God who sees the overlooked.

“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.’” (Genesis 16:13)

This is the first time in Scripture we hear this name: El Roi, the God Who Sees.

The name is sweeter because Hagar spoke it first. It isn’t just that God sees but that God saw her. Hagar’s story shows us that God doesn’t just see and love the key players, the ones from the right storyline and bloodline and family line, the called and set apart, the covenantal children — He sees and loves the overlooked too.

This name, the God Who Sees, doesn’t simply describe what God does; it reveals His character. God is omnipresent, everywhere all at once. He’s also omniscient, knowing everything all the time. So God, by His very nature, cannot overlook us.

When we feel invisible to the world around us, we do not go unnoticed by our Father. We can be sure He sees every heartache, every unspoken word, every sacrifice and every longing. When we lift our eyes to Him, like Hagar, we can declare, “I have seen Him who looks after me.”

El Roi, thank You for seeing and knowing my heart today. Give me confidence in Your love when I feel overlooked by others. In Jesus᾿ Name, Amen.


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