Last month about 40 members and friends of our church went to Mexico on a mission trip. Our assignment was to serve an orphanage in Chihuahua by helping with some building projects and general upkeep of the facility that serves about 50 children. But more than that, we were called to spend time with those children to remind them that someone cares and help reinforce the mission of the orphanage to assure them that there is a Father who ultimately cares for them. So, while much of our time was dedicated to cleaning, and painting, and drywall, we spent an equal amount of time just hanging out with the kids. A good portion of that time was on the playground.
I can still hold my own by throwing, hitting, or kicking a ball, but there’s no way I could possibly keep up with the stamina of 8- to 15-year-olds. I needed breaks and often found myself taking a seat while the younger members of our mission team kept up the pace. But even as I sat, the children would come up to me with jump ropes in hand and say in Spanish, “Mirame, mirame.”
I can’t speak much Spanish, but I did recall those words from my high school years. It means, “Watch me, watch me.”
Even if I couldn’t run, kick, or jump they wanted me to watch. So, I did. They would jump rope while I counted. When they reached a multiple of tens, I would cheer and they would smile. When they messed up, they’d start again.
They just wanted to know someone was watching them.
In Genesis, the opening book of the Bible, a major player in the story is Abraham. God had promised him that he would be the father of a great nation. The problem was that Abraham and his wife Sarah were old, beyond their childbearing years. So, Abraham decided to have a child by his wife’s servant, Hagar. Although Abraham is regarded as a great man of faith (and rightfully so), this was not the best decision he made. Hagar did become pregnant and that led to hard feelings between the two women. The feud eventually led the expectant mother, Hagar, to flee into the desert. It was a hopeless move, but she simply couldn’t stand the humiliation and wrath she was experiencing.
Imagine that. A pregnant woman who had just done what she was told to do. Certainly not without some responsibility, but no doubt a victim of the whims of those more powerful. And now she finds herself in the desert, pregnant and alone.
Not long into her journey Hagar is visited by an angel of the Lord. He tells her to go back home. He makes her some promises, but more importantly he reminds her that, while no one else may care or see, the Lord does. After that experience, Hagar gives God a new name – it’s El Roi in Hebrew. In English, it’s The God Who Sees.
You know, we’re not too much different from those children at the orphanage. We just want to know that someone is watching us, and we can rest assured that God is.
When no one notices you’re gone, God notices. When no one else knows your pain, God sympathizes. When you feel invisible to the world, God sees.
“Mirame, mirame,” we cry out, and when we do we can rest assured that God pauses and watches. And in watching, He assures us that we are loved. He reminds us that we have purpose. He affirms that even if the whole world deserts us, He never will. He is The God Who Sees.
Todd Catteau is the preaching minister for the Park Avenue Church of Christ in Denison. He is married with four children. More of his writing can be found athttp://toddcatteau.blogspot.com.