On Monday, a woman laid her baby girl to rest. Tiny coffin. A ragged gash in her maternal soul. Now every inch forward is a mile of numbness. And, God, where is he?

On Tuesday, a couple signed divorce papers. A God-joined and man-destroyed union. Separate beds, separate homes, shared fears of a future pregnant with monstrous uncertainties.

On Wednesday, a man got to work, did his job, clocked out, and drove home, convinced that if he were simply to vanish from the earth tonight, in a year not a single person would ever give him even a moment’s remembrance.

On Thursday, a mother spent morning to nightfall cooking and cleaning and correcting the three young children in her care, all the while wondering if, in the grand scheme of things, she made any real difference to the Creator of the universe.

On Friday, when the worker wheeled him into the main room in front of the television, he stared through cloudy blue eyes at the bent and haggard bodies of his compatriots in this house of aging, where daily, if not hourly, he asked the Lord why he didn’t just take him home already.

Early Saturday morning, when she stumbled home from the party in darkness, her mind a blur from the miasma of drugs and a hook-up with some stranger, she fell into bed with just enough consciousness left to silently scream to the heavens her unspoken lament for a life she wouldn’t be ashamed of.

On Sunday, after the pastor got home from church, he slumped into his recliner, thinking about what a wasted life he was leading, shepherding a congregation that was hemorrhaging members and seemed hellbent on dying the slow death of attrition. And lifting his eyes to heaven, he shook his head and said, “I’m beginning to think that you don’t even care.”

You know these people. I know these people. Some of you are these people. They are those who feel unseen, unheard, unneeded, unloved.

Maybe the stories and struggles are slightly different, but they are all caught in the universal machine of suffering that chews people up and spits them out. And in their respective griefs and fears, they are all wondering if God sees them, hears them, knows them.

Once, long ago, a pregnant runaway named Hagar was at the end of her rope. In the desert, the Messenger of the Lord met her, spoke to her, and gave her a promise. She afterward gave him the Hebrew name, El Roi, “The God who Sees.” She said, “Truly here I have seen him who looks after me" (Gen. 16:13).

El Roi, the God who sees, the God who looks after me, the God named Jesus the Christ.

Monday through Sunday, when his children are in loss, shame, confusion, and doubt, Jesus El Roi never closes his eyes. He looks and he sees. More than that, he sits with the suffering and holds the trembling soul. There is not a bone in the body that doesn’t care.

If he counts the hairs of our heads, if he counts our tears, then surely he counts the fissures in our fragile hearts, weighs our burdens, and tallies the minutes we lie awake at night. He is not a faraway Savior but is as near to us as heat to a fire, as wet is to water.

He who had appeared to Hagar as "The God Who Sees" is he who, in the fulness of time, was the God seen upon the cross. And to see God upon the cross is to know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that he sees you as one for whom he was willing to die.

This Jesus is merciful. He will show you mercy.
With him, you are always seen and loved.