“This is my strategy for parties,” I said, leaning closer to my friend. “First, I chat with the people I don’t know. Then, when my energy is depleted, I’ve already contributed and can just listen for a while. And when all else fails, I can go help in the kitchen.”
Seems dramatic, right? But for an introvert like me, holiday parties can be a massive overload. Don’t get me wrong, I love people. I love chatting and learning and developing friendships. But it does zap my energy, especially when I don’t know anyone.
Have you been in that situation? You’re detached from the familiar and desperately trying to find a place. And you wonder: “Does anyone see me?”
Whether or not you successfully weave your way into a conversation, the fact remains: Sometimes as humans, we feel utterly invisible. And no, I’m not just talking about holiday parties. I’m talking about the gut-wrenching loneliness that hits you with every failure or abandonment. The panicky, palm-sweating fear that makes you want to curl up in bed because that seems to be the only place you belong.
That is, no doubt, how Hagar felt when she gathered up her things and fled into the wilderness. Even if you haven’t grown up in church, you probably know about that Bible dude named Abraham. He was a great man of faith and the father of many nations (Genesis 17:5). But he also made a lot of big mistakes. Exhibit A: He slept with his wife’s servant in order to give his wife the child she wanted. Sarah, his wife, was all for it. Well, she was until her servant, Hagar, conceived a child. Then, her jealousy raged and she mistreated her pregnant servant.
So Hagar ran.
She ran to the desert. It is there, that the Bible says “the angel of the Lord found her (Genesis 16: 7).” Yes, even when she felt completely abandoned and alone, God was pursuing her. He was with her. Next to a spring of water, the angel told Hagar that He would increase her descendants and that she would give birth to a healthy son.
“You are the God who sees me,” she responded. “I have now seen the One who sees me.”
Do you feel like Hagar? Invisible, alone or neck deep in mistakes? God loves you. He is with you and He won’t leave you. He is El Roi, the God who sees. And He doesn’t just see you, He comes to you.
So, if you’re camped out in the desert right now, take a deep breath and listen up: You aren’t forgotten. You are never forgotten.