In the old testament, Hagar was the servant woman of Sarai, Abram’s wife. (Now Abram will later to become the patriarch Abraham, who we know and love). When God told Abram he would have a son who would become a great nation, Sarai decided that the best way to go about making this happen would be to have Abram get Hagar pregnant.
And behold, he did, and Hagar started gloating, and Sarai got fed up, and after talking with Abram, began mistreating Hagar. So Hagar, now pregnant, ran away into the desert.
And there, in the desert, by a spring of water, she encounters the Living God. First, He asks where she’s come from, and where she’s going. Then, after she answers, He instructs her to go back and submit to Sarai. But He also speaks to her about her son, calling him Ishmael – God Hears – “because the LORD has listened to your affliction.”
After her conversation with Him, it seems to me she’s in awe. She acknowledges that God is El Roi, the God who sees, and says “Truly here I have seen Him who looks after me.” And the place she was hanging out at even gets called “The well of the Living One who sees me.”
And so it is to this day. God is the God who sees us in our affliction. God is the God who hears us in our affliction.
“For he Has not despised or abhorred
the affliction of the afflicted,
and He has not hidden His face from him,
but has heard, when he cried to Him.” – Psalm 22:24
But in all of this noticing neither is He idle. Rather, our God acts, for our rescue and our redemption:
“He sent from on high, He took me;
He drew me out of deep waters.
He rescued me from my strong enemy
and from those who hated me,
for they were too mighty for me.” – Psalm 18:16-17
And so it is to this very day. So let us call on the Name of our God Who Sees, knowing that He will answer, and look after us.