I’ve been dipping into the Old Testament lately to balance my reading diet, going all the way back to Genesis. One thing that has impressed me is the two-way relationship that takes place between God and the different people, most of whom are pretty flawed. Take Hagar for instance, a woman who has the flaw of looking on Sarah and her barrenness with contempt. Sarah in her turn treats Hagar so badly that Hagar runs away. But an angel of the Lord encourages Hagar and says to call her son Ishamel which means God hears. After this encounter, she begins to call God “El Roi which means “God sees me“. Then she asks herself a question: Have I truly seen the One who sees me?
I stopped short when I read that because it showed me that it’s not only helpful to ask God questions but it’s also good to ask ourselves questions.** God sees me. Have I seen Him? God hears me. Do I hear Him? God acts. Do I notice? God blesses. Do I thank Him?
Too often my life with God does not reflect this two-way relationship. Instead, I tend to view it more as a box of puzzle pieces for me to fit together. Some pieces are those hard-to-answer questions I’m trying to make sense of. Other pieces are the seemingly contradictory aspects of God’s character: loving and just, accepting and judging, graceful and lawgiving. I want to figure it all out and then sit back with the satisfaction of knowing every piece is in its place.
But what I see in Genesis is that it’s not a puzzle but a tapestry with warp and woof. Hagar’s question reveals the dynamic that goes on between me and God: He hears me, He sees me. And then it is my turn to draw close and see Him. God speaks , and then I respond. He calls, and I act in faith. It’s a give and take like a weaver’s shuttle going back and forth through the taut threads on the loom. Without my response, God can’t weave in my patch because He doesn’t force Himself into my life. It is up to me to listen and trust and obey.
I don’t often see the larger picture as the Master Weaver chooses the colors and makes His pattern in my life. But day after day, month after month, year after year, the shuttle goes on, back and forth in our relationship.
“Come, all you who are thirsty,
come to the waters;
and you who have no money,
come, buy and eat!
Come, buy wine and milk
without money and without cost.”Isaiah 55:1