In a strange story, tucked away in Genesis 16, God saves Abram’s mistress, Hagar, and their son, Ishmael, from the deadly heat of the wilderness. Afterward, Hagar calls God by one of his most beautiful (and seldom mentioned) names: “The God Who Sees Me” (Genesis 16:13).
As Cari notes, Jesus Christ was the perfect incarnation of The God Who Sees Me. Throughout his ministry, Jesus always took the time to see, even if it seemed like he had more important things to be doing or when it was going to disrupt his day. Jesus was always looking, and he was willing to go to whomever he saw, even if it meant going into a tomb, like when he raised Lazarus from the dead (John 11:38–44).
The problem is that we’re not so good at seeing—literally or metaphorically. When our heads aren’t literally looking down at our phones, we’re so wrapped up with our own cares and concerns that we don’t notice the needs of others. But if we’re going to lead lives of blessing, we need to learn to see like Jesus sees.
We all know the experience of being ignored. Why is the experience of not being seen so painful?
Christians worship The God Who Sees Me, so we ought to be people who see others. What prevents us from seeing others like we ought to? What are some things that we can do to improve our sensitivity to the needs of others?
“Living as a person of blessing begins with abiding in your King,” says Cari. Once our identities are secure in Christ, we can cultivate a posture through which we bring blessing to others.
As Cari reminds us, the same Spirit that raised Jesus Christ from the dead lives in us (Romans 8:11). This means that we carry the power and authority of our “family name” into every place we frequent. With this in mind, Cari has made a practice out of serving as a faithful presence in the spaces of her life—from her home to her grocery store to her favorite coffee shop—by growing relationships and praying for the physical locations themselves.
What places do you frequent every day? Every week? Every month? What would it look like to carry the blessings of your “family name” into those places?
In Cari’s memorable language, a faithful Christian life means “living awake.” It’s a striking metaphor, because it captures the challenge of keeping our eyes on Jesus while also truly seeing the people around us, even as distractions and spiritual lethargy try to put us to sleep.
Writing in the early 20th century, the Christian philosopher G.K. Chesterton was getting at much the same idea through a vivid comparison of Buddhist and Christian art:
No two ideals could be more opposite than a Christian saint in a Gothic cathedral and a Buddhist saint in a Chinese temple. The opposition exists at every point; but perhaps the shortest statement of it is that the Buddhist saint always has his eyes shut, while the Christian saint always has them very wide open. The Buddhist saint has a sleek and harmonious body, but his eyes are heavy and sealed with sleep. The medieval saint’s body is wasted to its crazy bones, but his eyes are frightfully alive . . . The Christian is staring with a frantic intentness outwards.
A Christian’s eyes ought to be “frightfully alive . . . starting with a frantic intentness outwards.” But we need to be careful here. If we’re really going to live with this kind of “frantic intentness” on blessing other people, God may ask us to do crazy things—like drive all over San Diego for a Christmas tree!
What influences in your life keep you from “living awake”?
Sometimes we ignore the call of God because we’re afraid he’ll ask us to something crazy, embarrassing, or even dangerous. What is something God might be calling you to that makes you uncomfortable?