She gave this name to the Lord who spoke to her: “You are the God who sees me.” Genesis 16:13

Twice Hagar leaves Abraham’s family and finds herself in the desert. The first time she runs away she is pregnant and meets the angel of the Lord who tells her to go back to Sarah. The second time Sarah tells Abraham to get rid of her (Genesis 21:10). Hagar finds herself in the desert with her son and no water. But again the angel of the Lord speaks to her, she is led to a well and is promised that her son will become a nation.

It was common for Jewish men to thank God they are not a Gentile, a woman or a slave so Hagar couldn’t have had things much worse as she was all three. However, God allows her to name him El Roi – the God who sees me. She was told to name her son Ishmael which means God hears. We have a God who sees and hears even the cries of a Gentile female slave.

The Psalmist writes, “Break the arm of the wicked and evil man; call him to account for his wickedness that would not be found out” (Psalm 10:15). There are many crimes in our world “that would not be found out.” Crimes like domestic violence and sexual abuse. Secrecy is an integral part of such crimes. Yet we can rest in the knowledge that an all-knowing, caring God does know. He may not act immediately (21:16) but he will act.

God knows all about our situation, whether we created the problem like Hagar (16:4) or it was created by others like Ishmael (21:9). God sees, hears and understands. What a blessing, what a comfort.