In my last blog I wrote about Hagar and her encounter with God at a time when she felt abandoned and afraid. As a result of that experience, she thereafter referred to Him as “the God who sees me” (Genesis 16:13).
Years ago I, too, had an experience that carved on my heart the same life-changing truth: God sees me.
It happened in August, 1983. Gene and I were living in a mud and rock house in a Nepalese village. We had no running water, no electricity, and no indoor plumbing. We did have snakes and scorpions. And we had a three-week-old son.
One day I was standing at my kitchen counter when the Nepalese teenager who worked for us let out a scream: “Serpo!” She’d been approaching our house when she saw a six-foot snake slither under the ill-fitting screen door.
I wasn’t fluent in the language, but I knew what serpo meant. I froze as the snake slithered past just a few inches from my feet and curled up under a wooden bench about five feet away.
My first thought was I have to get out of here, but not without my baby! Retrieving my sleeping son meant going to the bedroom upstairs, and that meant passing the snake to reach the stairs. My mama bear instinct kicked in. Heart racing, I dashed past the snake and up the stairs. I grabbed my baby and then left the house via a second exit.
Meanwhile, the neighbors who’d heard the scream had gathered in our yard to watch the action. A man and a teenage boy entered the house and, after much discussion, doused the snake’s head with kerosene. I’ve never understood the reasoning behind this, but I know it worked. The duo threw the dead reptile over a bamboo pole balanced on their shoulders and proudly paraded their trophy through the village for all to see.
Meanwhile, back in the mud and rock house, I fell into a pit of fear and despair. We’d just marked the end of our first year in Nepal, and I’d found it difficult to say the least. The stresses of frequent illness, isolation, language learning, and culture shock had taxed me. Add to those things the fact that Gene and I were still relative newlyweds (married only 17 months at the time) and now new parents. You get the picture.
The serpent intruder tipped my emotional scale. I spent the rest of the day wishing I could board the next plane bound for North America. I longed for my old normal and began plotting my escape—I could take my baby and a diaper bag packed with necessities, walk the half hour to the nearest bazaar where I could catch the next bus to Kathmandu, and head for home. If Gene really loves me, he’ll come find me, I reasoned.
There was only one problem. I knew deep in my heart that God had called us to Nepal. Leaving now meant choosing my will over His. My thoughts played tug o’ war for hours. Back and forth, back and forth—Go home. No, stay here.
I burst into tears the moment Gene came home from work. He plopped onto a cane stool and pulled me onto his lap. Wise man—he let me cry without trying to “fix” me. Then, for whatever reason, he turned on our shortwave radio.
To my amazement, a familiar strain filled the room—in English, nonetheless. Somewhere out there in radio land, a male quartet was singing “Great is Thy Faithfulness.”
Promises of God’s presence and mercy no-matter-what washed over me—a soul-weary Canadian woman hidden in a Himalayan hut—and assured me that He saw me there. Hope was restored and courage renewed. The knowledge that I was in His sights gave me the strength needed to persevere.
I’ll remember my Hagar moment as long as I live. God saw me in my desperation, reached down from heaven, and kissed me with a song.
He sees you, too, my friend. You are never alone.
#Hagar #bgbg2 #LonelyButNotAlone