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Feeling Seen

“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 NIV

Have you ever felt unseen? Growing up, my dad told us that “little children should be seen and not heard.” So, statements like this and the fact that I am an introvert left me feeling unseen for much of my life. So, I still struggle with these feelings sometimes. And at times, my heart still craves for others to see, and I want to be part of the popular crowd.

Feeling seen

Feeling Seen

I believe many people experience such feelings. And we even find instances of this in the Bible. For example, we see one such account in the 16th chapter of Genesis with the story of Hagar. Hagar was a maidservant to Sarai, Abram’s wife. So when Sarai could not conceive a child, she took matters into her own hands to fulfill the promise of God to her husband. 

“3: So after Abram had been living in Canaan ten years, Sarai his wife took her Egyptian slave Hagar and gave her to her husband to be his wife. 4: He slept with Hagar, and she conceived.”

Genesis 16:3-4 NIV

As the story continues, Hagar feels unseen by either Sarai or Abram. As a result, she becomes a pawn in the story and ends up running away. Finally, she escapes to the desert, where she encounters an angel of the Lord. The angel even calls her by name as he speaks with her about her current situation.

El Roi – The God Who Sees

Next, the angel commands Hagar to “return and submit” (Gen 16:9) to Sarai. To some, this command appears insensitive and oppressive. However, the verses that follow this statement display God’s focus on Hagar’s future. And Hagar realizes that God has seen and heard her, prompting her to give God the name El Roi, the God who sees me. Additionally, Hagar names her son Ishmael (per the angel’s instructions), which means God hears. 

Seen by God

Hagar, a woman with no power or status in a patriarchal society, became the first person in Scripture to receive a visit from an angel. And she is the only person in Scripture to give God a name. Her life changed when she realized that God had seen her. And, no matter how bad the treatment upon her return, Hagar held onto the promises from Genesis 16:10 NIV; “I will increase your descendants so much that they will be too numerous to count.”

What a beautiful lesson! This story wasn’t only for Hagar. God’s character never changes, and what He did for Hagar, He will do for us today. We are seen by El Roi too. There is hope and comfort in the name “El Roi.”

The Lesson for Us

So, the next time you feel unseen, remember the story of Hagar. Remember that you are seen by God. He sees your tears, doubts, fears, and worries. God saw you before you were born (Psalm 139:16 NIV), He knows your name (Isaiah 43:1 NIV), and He will be with us until the end of time (Matthew 28:20 NIV). Whether the world sees you or not, your Savior does, and I know that provides me enough comfort to keep going.


Prayer to be seen

Dear Heavenly Father. Forgive me for the times I crave to be seen by the world. I’m so grateful that I don’t have to look to man for validation; all I need is given to me by You. So please help me to focus on Your promises for me. And help me to seek You when I want to be seen. Thank You for loving me through all my trials and tribulations. In Jesus’ Holy name, I pray. Amen 

This Post Has 26 Comments

  1. JD Wininger

    Great post Ms. Yvonne. So many reasons to love this word ma’am. Thank you for sharing your heart. Remembering always that El Roi sees all gives us both a reason for hope (His enduring word) and restraint (the strength and courage to overcome temptation and carnality). God’s blessings ma’am.

    1. Yvonne Morgan

      Thanks JD. I really felt seen all during BRMCWC. To be seen by God is what matters most and He sees us and knows us. And He still loves us. Blessings

  2. Ava Pennington

    What a precious reminder.
    I love studying the names and attributes of God. It’s why I wrote the devotional, Reflections on the Names of God.

    1. Yvonne Morgan

      His names tell us so much about His character and a great devotional. Thanks Ava. And God bless

  3. Melissa G. Henderson

    I am thankful God sees me. Even when I disobey, God sees and when I seek His forgiveness, He forgives.

    1. Yvonne Morgan

      Amen Melissa. This is a precious gift for those in Christ

  4. Carla Pollard

    Hi Yvonne, It means to be seen. So thankful we are fully seen and known by God. Appreciate this post.

    1. Yvonne Morgan

      Amen Carla. So thankful He sees me. God bless.

  5. Jeannie Waters

    Yvonne, El Roi is a name of God that encourages me to trust Him. He sees me and loves me. He understands. I especially appreciate the last paragraph in your wonderful post.

    1. Yvonne Morgan

      Thank you Jeannie. I think El Roi is one of my favorite names for God.

  6. In a culture in which women were seldom truly seen, the Lord saw a woman in need, encouraging her, watching over her, and dialoguing with her. It is a great blessing to be seen!

  7. Stephen De La Vega

    This is such a good reminder, Yvonne, of God’s intent care for us. I read through this chapter in Genesis recently in my daily Bible reading and it seems there were a number of people who felt unseen or not recognized appropriately in Abraham’s, Isaac’s, and Jacob’s days. I’m thankful that God sees each one of us as who He made us to be.

    1. Yvonne Morgan

      Me too. I reread this story when I feel unseen by the world and it reminds me to focus on El Roi. Blessings

  8. Jessica Brodie

    Just beautiful! I’m so grateful we have El Roi who TRULY sees us… He sees past the pain and the sin and the baggage and the masks we wear and knows us truly and deeply.

    1. Yvonne Morgan

      And I find so much comfort in this fact. What an indescribable love He gives to us. Thanks Jessica. Blessings

  9. Sylvia Schroeder

    Love the God Who Sees. It is such a comfort to know He does.

    1. Yvonne Morgan

      Yes, it brings me so much comfort. Thanks Sylvia and God bless.

  10. Jennifer

    I have always found peace in this story because of the beautiful reminder God sees us. It reminds me God sees all of us, not just certain people.

    1. Yvonne Morgan

      Amen Jennifer. It provides me with His ever lasting peace and a joy that is beyond understanding. Blessings

  11. Annie Yorty

    Excellent reminders in your post, Yvonne. Thank you so much for the reminder of God’s character.

  12. Nancy E. Head

    What a wonderful message for when we’re feeling alone! He never leaves us, never forsakes us. Thanks, Yvonne. God bless!

  13. Yvonne Morgan

    Thanks Nancy. It certainly helps me when feelings of loneliness strike me. God bless

  14. karentfriday

    Thank you, Yvonne. I’ve always found inspiration and comfort in Hagar’s story. We have all felt invisible at times or wondered, Is God there? Does He know? Does He see? To realize He’s the God who sees us remains a powerful encouragement to our heart.

    1. Yvonne Morgan

      So many amazing stories in the Bible that provide comfort to our every pain. Thanks Karen and God bless

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