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  • Writer's pictureStephanie Ehmke, MA, LPC

Being Seen

“For God’s eyes are on the paths people choose;

He surveys each of their steps.”

Job 34:21 (The Voice)

There is nothing quite as painful as feeling invisible.

Maybe you know what I’m talking about. Have you ever been in a crowded place like a mall, a church, or a busy outdoor festival and felt like you were completely alone, even though hundreds of people were all around you? Or maybe it’s the exact opposite; you’re with a small group of your best friends or family members and still feel completely unseen. I’ve personally felt this way in both scenarios at times – more than once.

There are numerous reasons to explain why this feeling of invisibility comes, but lurking beneath every reason is a common truth. No one, outside of the Eternal God, knows the depths of any person. Try as we may to share the fullness of our joy and sorrow with those around us – no one on this earth truly knows the intensity of what we feel.

And so there are seasons when the weight of life (good things and bad) come crashing in leaving us feeling utterly alone and invisible.

Most of us know we are not really alone or invisible, but that truth doesn’t seem to help when you’re feeling the heaviness of life. So what do we do in such moments?

We cling to hope; relentlessly choosing not to believe the lie that we are invisible, believing there is one who sees us and that his attention is the only one that truly matters.

I found myself pondering these thoughts earlier this week after reading a small obscure verse in the book of Genesis. Wading through chapter after chapter about Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, I came to Genesis chapter 35 and the story of Jacob returning with his family to Bethel. Here is the record of God telling Jacob where to settle and his obedience to go, but in the middle of the chapter is a seemingly odd verse.

“Now Deborah, Rebekah’s nurse, died, and was buried under the oak below Bethel. So it was named Allon Bacuth.” (Genesis 35:8, NIV)

When I read this verse I thought, “Rebekah? Didn’t she die several chapters earlier? Why am I hearing about the death of her nurse? I’ve never heard of Deborah the nurse before, is she somehow important to the story?”

As it turns out, yes, she is important to the story, just not in a grand way most of us as human beings think of as “important.”

Scholars speculate that Deborah would have been somewhere in the range of 160 years old when she died, based on knowing when Rachel died and the fact that she had been her nurse. She had lived a long, beautiful life and was mourned by those she left behind as we see her buried at Allon Bacuth, which means “oak of weeping.”

Other than knowing she’d been a nurse, and that her death was mourned, we don’t know anything about Deborah the nurse, and yet we find her life in the pages of Scripture. Why?

I believe God includes these seemingly random details in Scripture for the purpose of showing us that each and every person plays a special part in the grand story he is weaving together in our world. Not one of us goes through a single day when the eyes of God are not on us. His view of us is not deterred by our sin and brokenness and it is not increased by our good deeds or affluence.

No one is invisible before God and sometimes we need reminding.

No matter who you are, no matter what you are going through, God sees you. You may think you are invisible or that the day-in-day-out life you live is insignificant, but I promise you – your life is eternally significant.

Others around you may be reading the story of life and say (as I thoughtlessly did about Deborah the nurse), why are they included in this narrative? But, those around you have limited sight and my guess is, if they could see you from God’s perspective, they would be astounded by your worth and purpose in God’s story. You would probably be surprised as well!

For Your Reflection…

Close your eyes and let these words wash over you… “God sees you.” Let that sink for a while.


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