God Sees. God Hears.

Jenna Brooke Carlson, Volunteer Writer, Huntley | March 12, 2024

She gave this name to the Lord who spoke to her: “You are the God who sees me,” for she said, “I have now seen the One who sees me.”
Genesis 16:13

Then she went off and sat down about a bowshot away, for she thought, “I cannot watch the boy die.” And as she sat there, she began to sob. God heard the boy crying, and the angel of God called to Hagar from heaven and said to her, “What is the matter, Hagar? Do not be afraid; God has heard the boy crying as he lies there. Lift the boy up and take him by the hand, for I will make him into a great nation.”
Genesis 21:16-18

I’m not unfamiliar with pain. Navigating several health issues, I know what it’s like to be debilitated by physical pain—unable to eat, sleep, or go to work. When I’ve gone through these times, the pain is isolated, and I put all my strength and effort into relieving it.

This pain was different.

I lay in bed one hot summer afternoon, consumed by emotional pain. It wasn’t isolated. It ran throughout my body, reaching into the deepest part of my soul. I didn’t have enough resources to relieve it. Medication, heating pads, and even a trip to the ER couldn’t fix it. What do you do when you hurt everywhere and don’t know how to make it stop?

Cry out to God.

While the Bible doesn’t specifically say, I can imagine Hagar was in a great deal of emotional pain when we find her in Genesis 21. She’d already bore her master’s son, been mistreated by his wife, and fled to the desert twice.

The second time she finds herself in the desert with her son Ishmael. They’re thirsty and to their breaking point. Ishmael begins crying and Hagar sobs. She can’t imagine watching her son die.

Then an angel of God cries out to her.

The angel tells Hagar that God heard her son’s cry. She opens her eyes and finds a well. She’s able to give Ishmael a drink, relieving his thirst. Not only that, God promises the boy will become a great nation.

That hot summer afternoon, God heard my cries. He provided my own well to drink from, and while it took some time, I began to heal from the pain.

If you’re walking through a desert, God sees you. If you’re crying alone in your bedroom, God hears you. He won’t leave you to go through the struggle alone.

Next Steps

Spend some time talking to God. Tell him what’s on your heart. He’s listening.