Sunday, June 1, 2014
He Sees Me
When I was younger, I received a very high electrical shock. I think I was 4 or 5. We were in Japan and something was wrong with the electrical system in our washing machine. I don’t remember a lot about it except that there was terror and there was pain and I couldn’t let go of the faucet that I was holding onto at the time. And I was screaming.
We were not a family that went to the doctor so it’s not a surprise that we didn’t go to the doctor to make sure that everything was okay with me. Mom just cuddled me and prayed for me. But something happened to me from that time. I was a child with severe nervous problems. As an adult, I can only describe them as panic attacks. There were episodes where my stomach felt sick and I was afraid I was going to throw up but it consumed me. I was terrified of throwing up. And it wasn’t just every once in a while. There was a season in my life that it happened everyday. And if I didn’t call my dad to pick me up from school, I wanted to because I always thought I was sick. It wasn’t always that. Sometimes I would think that I was going to pass out or faint or die in front of everyone. I would be humiliated and ruin everyone’s day doing something so far out and so horrible that it would be etched in their mind forever. And I would have no control over it. Its a hard thing to describe but as a child those were very real fears that I combated daily - sometimes hourly.
There were chunks of my childhood that literally passed me by as I was dealing with whatever was going on in my head, or my body or my emotions. I learned to deal with the debilitating fear. I learned - but that fear was never far from me. It was easily called upon and I never really knew when it was going to come out of nowhere and consume me or wreck my day.
There was one day in Japan… I was really excited. A minister from the States was going to come and speak to our little church in Japan. I was so excited. But there was a problem when i got excited. Excitement almost always triggered that debilitating fear. It was always a fear that I would ruin it somehow. I would throw up or faint, or lose control. However irrational, the fear wasn’t something that I could just talk down. It was very real and very terrifying and it overtook me.
I was eleven. I went to the bathroom, and I fell in a heap on the floor, crying. I remember this as vividly as I remember yesterday. Feeling the cool tile on my legs. Lifting my hands up to the sky in desperation, I cried, “Lord, when are you going to hear the cry of my lonely soul and see the desires of my heart?” The cry of my soul was to be free. The desire of my heart was to be free. I just wanted to be free. With all that I had within me, as a child of eleven, I just wanted to be free.
During an episode, my right hand would shake violently. This day was no different. I couldn’t control it. I sat there sobbing for a bit. I waited until it subsided, until my hand stopped shaking, until I could face the world again. No one would know the moment that I had in the bathroom. I got up and splashed water on my face and walked cautiously out of the bathroom. I tried to busy myself so that I wouldn’t get another episode like this.
That night, we went to the meeting and I was sitting in the front row, as I always did. The minister walked up to me, looked me in the eye and pointed his bony finger right at me. “The Lord wants to say something to you.” I looked up at him, for a moment terrified that I would have another episode but a peace settled on me as I met his stare. “ The Lord says, ‘Daughter, I hear the cry of your lonely soul and I see the desires of your heart…” Word for word what I had cried out to the Lord in sheer desperation just hours before. It was in that moment I knew that I would serve the Lord forever.
My nervous episodes didn’t disappear immediately, as you might suppose. I was not delivered from them that night instantaneously. But there was something about the fact that God knew me. He knew me so intimately that he quoted word for word what I had said - I knew that I could make it. I knew that it was going to be okay. God knew me.
There was a woman in the Bible that said the same thing. Her name was Hagar
She was carrying Abraham's child and although it was at Sarai’s suggestion, she began to be a bully to Hagar. She wasn’t treating her well. Hagar couldn’t take it anymore and she ran away.
I can imagine what she felt like - afraid, devastated and totally alone. But while Hagar was on the road an angel of the Lord met her. He gave her a message from the Lord. He told her she was going to have a boy. He told her the future and he told her to go back to Sarai.
What the Lord told her was hard. They weren’t easy things to hear and he had asked her to do something incredibly difficult. But suddenly her world was different because God knew her. She built an altar and said, “The Lord sees me.” You see, God didn’t change the circumstances in Hagar’s life. But the revelation that God saw her, changed her life; it changed her perspective. She was justified in running away. She was going through some awful things. She wasn’t just being weak. But she could obey God in returning home, she could live in those circumstances again and bear it, because God saw her. Really saw her.
Today, as you read this, God sees you. He sees you if you are lonely. He sees you if you are terrified. He sees you if you are broken. Even if no one else sees you. Even if you feel like you are carrying your burden completely by yourself - you are not. Because God sees you.