Published on Wednesday, 30 November -0001 00:00
Many times throughout the Old Testament God would often reveal His character or His attributes by introducing Himself with a certain name. Genesis 17:1 is the first time God reveals Himself to Abram as El Shaddai, or God Almighty. "When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the LORD appeared to him and said, 'I am God Almighty; walk before me and be blameless.'" (Genesis 17:1) He continues to firmly establish this name among His people when talking later to Jacob in Genesis 35:11. "And God said to him, 'I am God Almighty; be fruitful and increase in number.'" However, the name El Roi, the God who Sees Me, was not proclaimed by God, but was given to God by Hagar. God found Hagar in the dessert after she had fled from Sarai. After this encounter with God, she gave Him this name-You are the God who sees me; El Roi. (See Genesis 16 for the full story.) I have given this name considerable thought lately. Asking myself, is it really possible to have an intimate, personal relationship with God? Many of us know God as Father, a title which implies such a relationship. Often, however, we see Him not as a loving, approachable father, but rather a distant father; a father to be feared or perhaps a father who seems inaccessible. It's not hard to imagine that He cares about "the big picture" stuff. But is He really attentive and thoughtful about just me or just you? Does the individual man have significance to God? After-all, there is war in our world; there are starving people in our world; there are Christians being persecuted today in our world. There are many important things God needs to be giving attention too; the "big picture" stuff. Does He have time to see just me or just you? Or perhaps the better question is; does He care to see just me or just you? Several months ago as I did my weekly grocery shopping, I came upon a small stand with flower bouquets consisting of six mini roses. I admired them; longing to have something that represented warmth in my home. I passed, however, thinking about the extra money already being spent on Christmas gifts. As I neared the floral department, the fresh flowers again drew me in. Again I desired them, but again I resisted. Nearing the registers, I came upon yet another stand of flowers, but these bouquets were only $1.99. I quickly said a prayer of thanks, believing that God had seen my silly desire, and had provided for me. I happily chose a bouquet for myself, but also one to give away, perhaps to a friend or neighbor. As I packed my groceries, I decided, with the Holy Spirit's nudging of course, to give the bouquet away to someone right in the store. I immediately began to scan the crowd; asking God whom He wanted me to choose. My heart began to pound, and I was nervous, as I approached a woman and held out the bouquet to her. I asked if I could buy these flowers for her today. I had to repeat myself. She questioned about cost, but finally with a flush and a smile, she accepted. I told her that Jesus loved her. I immediately took the bouquet I had bought for myself and gave that away too. I pushed my cart through the snow packed parking lot, with a smile I could not erase. This was not a grin, but a "show your teeth smile." As I sat in my car, a feeling of mischief and giddiness took over and off into the store I went to buy five more bouquets. As I gave them away, I ended by saying something like Merry Christmas, or Jesus loves you. On my way home, my heart was overwhelmed with gratitude. Tears surfaced as I replayed the faces and reactions in my mind. It was amazing to me that giving away what I had desired brought me more joy then actually having what I desired. Several hours after I returned home, I received an anonymous delivery of one dozen long stemmed, red roses. The card was simple and only stated three beautiful words-Jesus loves you! I have since found out who sent me the flowers. This person had no idea what I had done, but stated that God had told them to send me flowers and impressed upon them that it had to be that day. Some say it was a coincidence. I wonder if God sometimes questions us, and says, "Do you, my children, see me? Do I have significance to you, the individual man? Are you thoughtful and attentive towards me?" As I went to scripture with my initial questions, the truth was clear-Jesus loves me and Jesus loves you too. The individual man does have significance to God? (Psalm 139) He really is attentive and thoughtful towards just me and just you? We can say as Hagar said, "You are the God who sees-me" (Psalm 33:13-15; Psalm 145:17-20) So after much consideration, I concluded several things. God sees us as individuals, not just mass humanity. He cares about our needs but also enjoys giving gifts that have nothing to do with a need, but rather a desire. I also realized that if God feels distant, it's not because of God, but rather because of me. I get to decide how close to God I want to be. James 4:8 states that if I come near to God, He will come near to me. In Revelation 3:20 Jesus says "Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me." God so much desires our company, yet He will not force Himself on anyone. Instead, He knocks and eagerly waits for each individual to open the door to Him. He eagerly waits-for you. Just so know-I am absolutely convinced that El Roi, the God Who Sees Me, sent me flowers that day.