The God Who Sees Me

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Our devotional last week came from Genesis 16.  It is the story of Hagar, the servant of Sarah, who became pregnant when Abraham and Sarah grew tired of waiting on their promised child and so Abraham slept with Hagar instead.  She became pregnant… Sarah hated her for it, mistreated her, and then threw her out of the house.  (In fact, she gets thrown out the house again 15 years later.) If you’re not familiar with the story, you might want to read it again.

There are many lessons that can be drawn from this awful situation, but the one I want you to focus on this week comes out of verses 11 and 13.

Gen 16:11  … the Lord has heard of your misery…

Gen 16:13  … you are The God Who Sees Me (el Roi)… and then the well is named Beer Lahai Roi.

Hagar gives God a name that is only used here in scripture.  He is the God Who Sees Me, the God who hears my story, the God who has noticed that I am suffering.

Whatever your place in life, whatever your struggle – know that God sees you and God hears your cries for help.  He not only knows, He desires to support you and give you further instructions and encouragement.

“The eyes of the Lord roam throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to Him.” 2 Chronicles 16:9

Devotional 09/23/14

Fear and Trembling on September 11

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I remember September 11, 2001.  I stop every year, spend time with my husband, and thank God that he walked out of the burning Pentagon alive.

“Fear not.” It is the command most repeated in scripture. “Fear not.” We need to be reminded on an almost daily basis. God knows you. God cares for you. God is capable of protecting and providing.

Five years after I graduated from college I married an Army Special Forces officer. Later I began to struggle with mini panic attacks. I was deluged with fears that I would lose my husband. Every parachute jump, every deployment to another country, every late night phone call raised my stress level.

A wise friend intervened, telling me, “You must fight these fears – all fears are based on a lie. Find out what lies you have believed and replace them with truth.”

Indeed fear is a terrible thing. Fear robs us of our joy and peace, destroys our spiritual growth, frustrates God’s plans for us, opens the door for the enemy, and wastes our time! I searched to identify the lies that had invaded my thinking and I worked to replace those lies with truth. Verses on God’s love and concern for me, His sovereignty, His protection, and His provision covered my refrigerator door.

When my daughter was nine months old we were assigned to the Pentagon. September 11, 2001 was my husband’s second week of work. After the events in New York and then the Pentagon plane crash friends began calling to see if he was ok.  I struggled to remain calm while waiting for news. We had not even unpacked our television yet.

I sat down on the bed and opened my Bible to Deuteronomy 32:39 “There is no God besides me. I put to death and I bring life, I have wounded and I will heal, and no one can deliver out of my hand.”

I also have Psalm 138:7-8 marked with a “9/11” in the margins of my Bible.  “Though I walk in the midst of trouble, You will revive me, You will stretch forth your hand against the wrath of my enemies, and Your right hand will save me.  The Lord will accomplish what concerns me, Your lovingkindness, O Lord, is everlasting, do not forsake the work of Your hands.”Dad&flag

As I waited for news I was reminded again of God’s sovereignty, His love, and His promise of provision.

It was such a long day, and the entire cell phone network had collapsed, but the call finally came – my husband was fine.

I was grateful for lessons learned about fighting fear-inducing lies with truth. The truths of God’s character are timeless, and they have kept us sane through many dangers, toils, and snares.

Photo – My husband and daughter on September 11, 2001 when he finally made it home.  I hated it when he went back to work the next day to a building still on fire…

On Brain Surgery and Other Dramas

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12 years old.  Kinda young for brain surgery, really.  One of my best friend’s daughters is having brain surgery tomorrow, December 4th.  Here she is – with her surgeon Dr. Ben Carson at Johns Hopkins today as they get ready for tomorrow… (Rare case of pediatric trigimenal neuralgia, if you must know.)

It’s exhausting to think about.  Overwhelming.  Actually, for them, I think it’s been all that and a whole lot more for the last 4-5 months of trying to figure out what is wrong with KT Rose and how to go about fixing it.  I really cannot relate.  It’s hard to have empathy for a situation that is so far from what most of us ever have to endure.

As I thought about KT Rose and her brave-by-necessity parents… I am not sure what to say.

Yet I do have one story to tell.  This incident was one of the biggest dramas I have faced as a Mom… but it pales in comparison to brain surgery.

Yet the truths remain.

My son Mark had his tonsills out when he was 6 years old.  We were living in Germany and the German hospital sent us home on the 7th day.  In the middle of that night, our first night home, he ruptured something deep in his throat.  There was blood was everywhere – it was like a scene from a horror movie that I couldn’t make stop. I had to call a German ambulance and send him back to the hospital, the one we’d left only 12 hours ago, with my husband for emergency surgery to stop the bleeding.

The adrenalin rush of the crisis was absolutely exhausting, and we’d already had a week in the hospital… I didn’t know at the time that it would be two more weeks until we would finally be free, sent home to rest and heal and make new blood on our own time.

The ambulance left our house with Mark and my husband around 2 AM and then suddenly it was just eerie and silent.

I paced the hallways.

There was no way I could sleep, so I cleaned up all the messes in the house.  I prayed.  And prayed.  And prayed.

Ross called around 5 AM to say the surgery was over and Mark had been moved into the recovery room.

I watched the sunrise around 6 AM and drifted off to sleep finally.

I had a dream, but really it was more like a vision as the details were so clear and it was just a picture… not moving pieces.  I saw myself, curled up in the fetal position, in the palm of God’s hand.  Of course.  The meaning was so clear.  I was in His hand… just curled up, exhausted.  Resting.  He had it all under control.  I could relax.  Sleep.  Let go.  So I slept finally.

(It was another two years before something odd occurred to me.  Why was it me in His hand, and not Mark?  Shouldn’t He have been confirming that Mark was in His hand?  But no, what God really wanted to say was that I was in His hand.  Apparently that’s what I needed most, was to know that He was cradling me.  Comforting.  Protecting.  Controlling.)

I slept the sleep of the dead, the exhausted.

For one hour.

At 7 AM my phone rang.  It was Christa, one of my closest friends in Stuttgart.  She was the one had been picking up my daughter from school all week, feeding her dinner, and keeping her busy until my husband and I changed shifts at the hospital every night.

“What in the world is going on?!” she asked.  “I have been awake since 2 AM – praying for you.  Now tell me what’s happening.”

God woke her up to pray for Mark and our family.

When I most needed help, I couldn’t do anything about it, but God could.

I still don’t understand how prayer works in the economy of God but I do know this – He is in control.  Of everything.  Including waking up your friends to pray for you.

How awesome it is to serve a God like that!

Love, hugs, and prayers to KT Rose.  Mom and Dad, rest in peace.  You are in the palm of His hand.

Sleep as best you can.  Some of us may be up praying for you.