“She gave this name to the Lord who spoke to her: ‘You are the God who sees me’” (Genesis 16:13)
When you look at me through this blog what do you see? Perhaps a Bible teacher or writer? When my friends look at me they tell me they see a person who is determined to fulfill God’s call. They also say they see someone who is friendly and helpful and dependable.
But when I look at myself in a mirror, I see a middle-age woman with graying hair (under the red hair dye), a weight problem, out of date clothes and a tired expression. When I look at my heart, I see scars—lots of scars—some self-inflicted and some caused by others. I see anxiety and a sense of unworthiness. When I look at my spirit, I see hopes and dreams left scattered and unrealized.
But how does God see me? Does He have the same image of me that I see of myself? Let’s take a look through the Bible and see how God’s perspective is so vastly different from our own.
Abram whose name meant “exalted father,” saw himself as childless, but God saw Abraham as the “father of many”—in fact God saw him as the father of nations (Genesis 17:5).
Abram’s wife saw herself as a barren woman, but God saw her as the mother of the promise, through whom an entire nation would be born (Romans 9:8-9).
Jacob was known as a deceiver, a name he lived up to for many years; but God saw him as “Israel”—an overcomer (Genesis 32:28).
Joseph’s brothers saw him as arrogant and bratty, Daddy’s favorite son. The Midianites saw him as a quick sale in the slave market. Potiphar saw him as his slave, and Potiphar’s wife saw him as a temptation until he spurned her advances, then she saw him as a prisoner. Pharaoh saw him as a wise and trusted official. But God saw him as the savior of Israel (Genesis 50:20).
Moses saw himself as a stuttering criminal on the lam, but God saw him as the deliverer of His people (Exodus 3:10).
Gideon saw himself as “the least in the weakest clan of Israel,” but God saw him as a “mighty warrior” (Judges 6:15, 12).
Ruth believed herself to be merely the caregiver of her mother-in-law, Naomi, but God saw her as the great-grandmother of the chosen king of Israel.
David’s father Jesse saw his son as the tender of the family’s sheep, but God saw him as the shepherd-king of His people.
Esther thought of herself as the wife of the king of Persia, but God saw her as the instrument through whom He would rescue the Jewish people.
Consider Peter, Andrew, James and John—just fishermen and Matthew—a tax collector and the others Jesus saw as His disciples, men who would turn the world upside down in just a few short years (Matthew 4:18-22, 9:9).
He saw paralyzed people as whole and walking, demonized people as souls at peace, sick people as healthy, dead people as alive. He saw people once bound in sin as freed from their shackles to live as His followers.
The woman caught in adultery, who was seen through her sin, Jesus saw as forgiven and restored to a life of holiness (John 8:3-11). Where the woman with issue of blood saw herself as ostracized and unclean, Jesus saw her as a “daughter” (Luke 8:48). Simon the Pharisee saw the woman washing Jesus’ feet as a “sinful woman,” Jesus saw her as a model of love born out of forgiveness (Luke 7:36-50). He saw Mary Magdalene, whom the whole town knew as a demon possessed woman as the first witness to His resurrection (John 20:10-18).
He saw Saul, the persecutor of His church as His “chosen instrument to carry My name before the Gentiles and their kings and before the people Israel” (Acts 9:15).
The Roman Emperor Dominican saw the Apostle John as a criminal who deserved banishment, but Jesus saw John as the Revelator, who would receive his divine prophecy for the church (Revelation 1:11, 19).
So, to return to my question—how does God see me?—I believe the answer is found in these examples from His Word. He sees me as forgiven, redeemed, and whole, set free and set apart. Yes, He sees me with my scars, but He sees those scars as bridges as I reach out to other wounded souls. He sees me as His servant and vessel, as His imperfect, but chosen mouthpiece in this generation. But most precious to my heart, He sees me as His daughter.
My friend, God sees you and me far more clearly that we could ever see ourselves. Who you are in the sight of others, or even in your own eyes, is not who you are in the sight of the God who created and redeemed you. For those who are in Christ, He sees us as His children (1 John 3:1), with a purpose and a future (Jeremiah 29:11). Where others see us through the mistakes we’ve made, God sees us with all the potential He placed in us from before we were born. When we see ourselves through the worldly standards of beauty and success, God sees us through the beauty of His Son and His victory over death. When we see ourselves as unworthy, hopeless, useless and unwanted He sees us as valuable, and desired, because He sees us through eyes of love and compassion.
How do others see you? How do you see yourself? When you consider those questions, always come back to this truth: the God who created you sees you as so much more than you can ever imagine. Ask Him to give you His perspective so you can live as the child of God that you are.
Holy Father, Your perspective is what really matters to me, because Your eyes only see what is true. Give me a glimpse of who I am in Christ, so that I can cast aside every false image and live as the woman You created me to be. Amen.