There are times I feel unseen. As a mom, I have struggled with this, wondering if anyone sees how hard I’m working, if anyone realizes how little I sit down. There are days I pass by the couch but never actually sit on it. Days I eat only on the run. Days I juggle schedules and homework and chores and dinner like the conductor of a fast-moving symphony, and yet, my job description merely says homemaker.
Sometimes I feel unseen in my marriage. Like when my husband and I aren’t on the same page. When my feelings appear misunderstood, my goals no longer feel like our goals, or when my efforts to lend him the respect he desires (and deserves) fall flat on the floor.
And honestly, there are moments I feel unseen by God. There are times when my prayers feel like they’re bouncing off the ceiling, and my hopes and dreams appear ignored. Sometimes the unexpected knocks the wind out of me, I’m confused about God’s sovereignty, and disappointment looms large.
Perhaps you know the feeling.
But we are not invisible. We are not unseen by God, who sees everything. We are seen and known and loved and constantly thought about by the God who intricately knit us together, makes plans for us, and determined all our days before they even began.
He Is the God of Seeing
Just sixteen chapters into the Bible, the Lord declares himself as El Ro’i: the God of seeing. (I don’t think the timing was an accident.)
Perhaps you remember the story in Genesis 16. In a desperate attempt to have a child, Sarah (Abraham’s wife) gives her servant (Hagar) to Abraham to have a child on her behalf. But after Hagar conceives, Sarah’s jealousy swells, and she mistreats Hagar until Hagar runs away.
But God saw Hagar and met her at a spring of water in the wilderness. Now granted, this is God’s chosen family, so of course He’s paying attention. Abraham is the patriarch of Israel. But in all technicality, Hagar didn’t count. The Abrahamic covenant (God’s promise to Abraham) did not include Hagar—an Egyptian servant probably acquired when Abraham and Sarah fled to Egypt during a severe drought (instead of trusting God in Canaan).
Had Abraham trusted God and stayed in Canaan, Hagar would have never been there. Yet God did not ignore Hagar, nor did He reject Hagar. God saw her—a lowly servant who didn’t count—and God comforted this sad, heartbroken woman.
If God saw Hagar, then we can be sure, He sees us. In Christ, we are God’s children. And what perfect parent turns a blind eye to their children? The thought is inconceivable.
God Knows the Details
Four hundred years after the episode with Hagar, Abraham’s descendants were suffering as slaves in Egypt. Their intense plight brought cries of anguish to their lips. And guess what? Exodus 2:24 says God heard their cries for help. “God saw the people of Israel—and God knew” (Ex. 2:25).
He saw them. God saw every unfair attack, every slash of the whip, every tear, every whispered heartbreak, every injustice poured out on every single one of His people. God missed nothing; God knew everything.
The Israelites did not need to report the details to God—the Israelites needed to cry out to God. Sometimes I try to fill God in on the details, as though He doesn’t know what happened. But God’s sovereignty never misses a beat. When life isn’t going the way I want, my job is not to figure out why, but to trust that God sees and knows and is still in control.
2 Chronicles 16:9 says, “For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to give strong support to those whose heart is blameless toward him.” God is always looking, and God is always ready to lend support to those who trust in Him, strengthening His children as only He can do.
The Testimony of the Saints Is Endless
Scripture offers us other examples, too. When we feel invisible, all we need to do is look to Joseph, David, or Daniel; Ruth, Esther, or Mary Magdalene; Nicodemus, the woman at the well, or Peter to find encouragement. (Just to name a few.)
God saw Joseph in his prison cell and David alone in the sheep pastures. God saw Daniel taken captive and drug all the way to Babylon. God saw Ruth in her widowhood, with no other option but to glean leftovers alongside the rest of the poor and needy.
God saw Esther taken from her uncle to the palace of a foreign king. God saw Mary Magdalene imprisoned by demons. He saw Nicodemus up in that tree and the woman at the well (every part of her) before He even got there. And as for Peter, God saw the man Peter would become long before Peter showed up.
God sees our hearts and our struggles. God knows exactly what you are going through. Suffering is not an indication that God does not see, though the devil hopes we’ll presume that. Rather, suffering is a constant testament to our need for a Savior and the presence of unwelcome sin in this world.
Set Your Mind on Things Above
Here’s what I’ve realized: when I feel unseen, chances are my eyes are not on the Savior. I’m not focused on God when I feel invisible, I’m focused on myself. Much of the time, my desire for visibility hinges on a desire for recognition. I long for praise and a medal and a podium and someone to lift me a little higher.
But do you know what raises my spirits more than anything else? Praising God. I no longer feel invisible when I worship the Lord the way He deserves; I feel known and loved. The best path I can take when I feel unseen is to raise my eyes to heaven and set my mind “on the things that are above, not on things that are on earth” (Col. 3:2).
God is not the one with the vision problem—I am. Right now, I only see in part, while He sees the entire picture. I am not unseen in my day to day activities, and neither are you. The Scriptures repeatedly testify that God sees and understands.
He sees you. He sees your wounds and your worries. He sees your heart and your hopes. And if you are a child of God, He’s right there with you. The Lord never turns a blind eye to His people. He is the God who sees us, the God who is always looking for a heart willing to trust in Him.