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El Roi, the God who sees me is found in Genesis 16, in the story of Hagar. It says, “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.”

Long before I even knew who Hagar was, I met the God who sees me, too. I was a pretty melancholy and lonely kid, not unlike Hagar, and I used to talk to God. One day I looked up and someone had carved the initials “icu” in a tree. It was a sign I tell ya, and I still think of it often. God has His own “intensive care unit” for our souls, as in giving us just what we need, at just the right time.

I’ve clung tightly to that “I see you” of long ago and I still believe it to this day. Other people may not get you, but He is a watchful shepherd and He understands our struggles. In Jeremiah the Bible says, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.”

I have great affection for the weeping prophet on account of the fact that he was pretty invisible and no one got him either. I have a bunch of critics and trolls, and some good friends too, who often wonder why I continue to write, why I insist on talking about difficult things, why I don’t just ditch social media entirely and start hanging out, “in the real world.”

Welp, it’s because I’ve seen the “real world” and it’s not all sunshine and rainbows either. In fact, it’s much like social media! I have a way of seeing what is going on right beneath the surface, so the superficial pleasantries of the “real world” just don’t hide what’s going on in people’s hearts. Also, all that hiding what’s in our hearts just exhausts me. I have to walk through a mine field of unspoken truths and dodge unseen unpleasantries that feel as if they could burst forth at any moment. I’ve gotten better over the years, but it still wears me out.

True story, I sometimes prefer to hang out with a rougher crowd because they’ve given up any pretenses, so they tend to be more honest about who they are. It’s darkly humorous, but you really just can’t be a truth teller in polite society. The truth is not always congruent with polite society.

Many of us blame the medium we’re on, the keyboard we’re using, for the way people behave. We like to treat social media like it’s an entity of it’s own, like it is what is responsible for our chronic relationship dysfunction, our spiritual immaturity, our constant division. I’m all for blaming our techie overlords for a myriad of miseries, but I’m older than facebook, older than Google even, so I know we were dysfunctional and immature long, long, before computers.

Heck, long before I was even born.

Look at poor Hagar, she got forced to sleep with an elderly man and bear his child, only to be resented and abused by the mistress who commanded her to do it in the first place. Don’t even get me started about Lot’s daughters…..

I really like the old testament for how it speaks the truth to us. Sometimes I get cranky with modern Christians, “we’re in a new covenant,” so everything is roses now? Than we all proceed to clutch our pearls and faint when people act like they’ve always acted. When we act like we’ve always acted.