For those of you who have followed my blog for a long time... This post is a repeat (albeit, an edited repeat). Except this time it does get its own post. Last time I tacked it onto the end of another post. So, I apologize for the redundancy, but this thought is one I come to every time I read in Genesis and Exodus. And I love it.
I was reading Exodus 2 yesterday, and I read the last verse (25) in that chapter:
"God saw the people of Israel-- and God knew."
It seems almost an incomplete thought, to just say that "God knew." But I think that's all that needed to be said. God saw their affliction, their trials, and He intimately knew what they were going through. And His heart reached out to them. That is why in the very next chapter, God tells Moses to go back to Egypt to lead His people into a better place.
That phrase, "God saw... and God knew," always reminds me of another story in Genesis that I love as well. It's the story of Hagar.
If Abraham and Sarah had gone by God's plans, the whole situation with Hagar and Ishmael would never have happened.
But it did happen.
However, just because it wasn't in God's plan doesn't mean that He forsook His own. Even though Hagar and Ishmael were not part of God's plan, He still had compassion on them.
In Genesis 16, Hagar is fleeing from Sarai because she just can't take the harshness and abuse anymore. As she's crying in the wilderness, God comes to her. He comforts her and speaks to her. He tells her to name her son Ishmael, which means "God hears." And when He's done, Hagar calls God's name, "You are a God of seeing," and she names the place "the well of the Living One who sees me." (Genesis 16:6-14, ESV)
Fast forward to Genesis 21. Hagar is once again in the wilderness-- this time because Sarah has sent her packing (and God okayed it). Hagar is once again crying, at the end of her rope, and believes that she and her child have been completely forsaken by everyone. As she's crying, Ishmael is praying. In verse 17 it says, "And God heard the voice of the boy, and the angel of God called to Hagar from heaven and said to her, “What troubles you, Hagar? Fear not, for God has heard the voice of the boy where he is." God hears. Ironic, because that's what Ishmael's name means. Despite the fact that God allowed Hagar and Ishmael to be in this wilderness of despair, God reminds Hagar in her darkest hour that He still hears. He still sees her. And He will take care of her. (Genesis 21:8-20, ESV)
Never forget this. God sees you. He hears you. And He knows. He knows better than anyone what you're going through. And He will take care of you.