God Sees Me

She gave this name to the Lord who spoke to her: “You are the God who sees me,” for she said, “I have now seen the One who sees me.” That is why the well was called Beer Lahai Roi; it is still there, between Kadesh and Bered. –Genesis 16:13-14 (NRSV)

My first few months upon arriving in DC were among the toughest stretches of my life. It took me a while to adjust and to feel at home in a strange place. Growing up mostly in the Boston area, while also staying there for college and graduate school, I came to DC without any real connection to it (save for a few friends). I was from Boston, home of the indomitable New England Patriots, 17-time champion Celtics, and the iconic Red Sox; so when I learned of the rich diversity in the sports fan base here, the multitudes of other transplants who supported and represented different loyalties and teams, I was nauseated—what kind of wasteland was this?

Courtesy unsplash.com and Dmitry Ratushny

Courtesy unsplash.com and Dmitry Ratushny

That year, I was lonely, not knowing whether I belonged to this place or with these people. And I never wanted to let on that things weren’t well. I have an innate capacity for being social and I thought it was hard for people who had already expected me to be social, to accept me when I ceased to be that way–composed, confident, smiley and funny. I was afraid to accept or even tell myself that I couldn’t make it on my own, that I wasn’t as capable as I had convinced myself to be. So in those moments, when my comforts—the wet cardboard stilts upon which I built my house—began to fold, familiar fears and anxieties resurfaced. I was exposed and breached. And, worst of all, no one knew. On my first birthday in D.C., I wept alone on my balcony.

That year, I found myself praying (or, to be candid, it was probably more like whining) my way through this mire and I realized how little consolation I found from the heady theology I gleaned from two academic degrees. What God slowly began to convict me of, was what Jesus’s life and passion truly entailed more simply, beyond the intellectual engagement that I too often use as a guard for what’s vulnerable. Now, don’t get me wrong; I will be among the first to acknowledge that there are cosmological, soteriological, epistemological, and theological ramifications for Jesus to becoming human. And to debate these affects and effects with rigorous argumentation still gets me really excited.

Yet, for Jesus to become human included the sweaty and bloodied and exhausting knowledge of what it’s like to be abandoned, outcast, spat on, rejected, beaten, ridiculed, betrayed, sad, and lonely. He knows what it’s like to lose loved ones. He knows what it’s like to feel forsaken. (And from the Father’s perspective, for those of you who are parents–and of all the parents I know, all of them want the best happiness for their children–imagine that it’s not simply knowing that your child would die, but that this is what he or she would have to endure while living.)

So when I felt crushed and broken, I realized that Jesus didn’t always reach out his hand and lift me out of it. Sometimes, Jesus takes both hands, cradles my bowed and tear-soaked cheeks, kneels down to meet my glassy tremorous eyes with his own, and whispers, “I know. I know. I know.”

One of my favorite underrated Old Testament verses comes from this passage in Genesis where Hagar, the Egyptian slave who fled to the desert after being mistreated by Sarai, refers to God by saying, “You are the God who sees me”. God sees me. God doesn’t just see abstract problems and fixes them.

God sees me.

You are the God who sees me.

You are the God who sees me.

You are the God who sees me.

You are the God who sees me…

Written by Patrick J

Patrick J

Patrick J. lives in Washington, D.C. and makes coffee sometimes. He is an insufferable fan of Boston sports and his favorite listicle is “The Top Ten Commandments to Follow And Why” by Moses, originally published on stone tablets. You can send cat or hedgehog photos to patrick@perissosblog.org

About Patrick J

Patrick J. lives in Washington, D.C. and makes coffee sometimes. He is an insufferable fan of Boston sports and his favorite listicle is “The Top Ten Commandments to Follow And Why” by Moses, originally published on stone tablets. You can send cat or hedgehog photos to patrick@perissosblog.org

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