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Why We Long for God to See Us
Not long ago, I accompanied a friend to the hospital for surgery. After she was wheeled away, I began talking with one of the nurses. Somehow the conversation came around to the nurse’s brother, who had been killed in an accident three years earlier. Like most untimely losses, the brother’s death had dramatically disrupted this woman’s family. Her mother still struggled with bitterness. Her parents’ marriage had faltered. Her baby son, born two weeks after her brother’s death, would never know his uncle.
Soon my new friend was pouring out her heart to me. And at some point, I shared with her something I had been thinking about a lot.
“Do you understand that God sees you in all this?” I said. “He really sees—”
I hadn’t even finished the sentence before she started to weep. She cried so hard that another nurse walked over to see if she was okay. She was completely undone at the thought that God saw her pain, her fear, her broken heart. She kept saying through deep sobs, “He sees me? He really sees me?”
That was just one simple encounter, one more reminder that the message of the God who sees you is one that needs to be shared again and again—with those who don’t know the Lord and with those who do. There’s a reason we hunger to be recognized, acknowledged, appreciated, and cared for. There’s a reason our hide-and-seek life—yearning to be found by God, yet fearing it at the same time—leaves us feeling so bruised and unsatisfied. It’s because God has intentionally and wonderfully created us to see and be seen, to live in intimate and joyful relationship with Him and with others.
More important, He put that need in us because He wants to meet it. He’s put the longing there to draw us closer to His heart.
We hunger to be seen—because He really does see us.
The challenge is to really believe it . . . to live in the confidence that we are recognized and accepted and included and, most of all, loved.
Can you do that? Can I?
I’ll admit I’ve had my struggles, but I can honestly say I believe it with all my heart. Here’s why:
First, the Bible tells me so, and the Bible has proven a reliable guide in my life. The whole sweep of the Bible can be understood as the story of a God who saw His people, even when they couldn’t see Him. A God who came to earth and paid special attention to the unnoticed—the meek and the mourning, the children everyone turned away, the powerless rather than the ones on top. A God who cared so much about what He saw that He came to earth in human form, turning hide-and-seek into the ultimate show-and-tell.
But I also believe because God has shown me, again and again, in the circumstances of my life. He has shown me through the whisper of His Holy Spirit, through the timing of my experiences, through the love and example of other people and the mysterious provision of what I have needed most.
I’ve seen too much evidence not to believe God sees me. I’ve been loved too much not to make it the story of my life.
I want it to be the story of your life as well. I want it to change everything, including the way you look at God and yourself and other people. I want you to live in confidence that when God looks at you, He sees beauty. He sees value. He sees hope. And even when you’re hiding, even when you’re so beaten down you can’t see anything clearly, He’s still hard at work, crafting a beautiful future of relationship with Him and with others. . . .
That’s . . . my personal witness as someone who at times has felt forgotten, uncared for, unloved, invisible. I truly believe I have a word from God for those lonely, aching times in your life.
The message is this: Regardless of how you may feel, God does see you.
He knows your name, and He loves you—passionately and tenderly.
He sees your needs, and He yearns to fill them.
At any given moment, even when you feel most alone, He is working out a plan for your future. . . .
One way or another, one day soon, you . . . will be able to say, thankfully, “I have seen the God who sees me.”
Adapted from The God Who See You by Tammy Maltby (with Anne Christian Buchanan). Copyright 2012 David C. Cook. Used with permission. Permission required to reproduce. All rights reserved.
More about Tammy Maltby:
Tammy is a speaker, author, and media personality with a heart for helping women to live rich, authentic lives. Her multifaceted life can be summed up in one word “encouragement”. Tammy’s graceful and transparent style of communication inspires women to live a more honest and real lifestyle. Her passion for beautiful living and relationship-centered hospitality shines in her recent book, The Christmas Kitchen: A Gathering Place for Making Memories. Tammy is also the author of Confessions of a Good Christian Girl, Lifegiving: Discovering the Secrets to a Beautiful Life, and A Discovery Journal to a Beautiful Life, is coauthor (with Tom Davis) of Confessions of a Good Christian Guy, and has just finished her newest book The God Who Sees You released in April of 2012.
A ten-year cohost of the two time Emmy-winning NRB TV talk show of the year Aspiring Women, Tammy is spearheading a movement encouraging women to “Start Simply but Simply Start!” Tammy is inspiring women to use food and faith as a tool to create community and connection. It’s not just about how to cook, more importantly it’s about why we cook!
Tammy is the married, mother of four grown children, two of whom are adopted internationally. She is a doting grandmother to four grandsons and makes her home in Colorado.
Learn more about Tammy and The God Who Sees You at tammymaltby.com.