In our small group Bible Study we have been looking at the names of God in the Bible. One of those names is El-Roi, “the God who sees me.” I wrote about the basis for that name recently in The God Who Sees Me – Part 1.
Reading that story led me to think of times in my life when I experienced that same sense that God had seen me. Times of my own fear or suffering when God ministered to me in a clear way that let me know He saw me. He knew my distress and He gave me assurance that He was with me and would help me in this time of difficulty.
The first time was when I was 14 years old and grieving over the father who walked out on me and my mother and left us to get by the best we could. That story is told in The God Who Sees Me – Part 1
Almost 20 years later, God again assured me that He was the God who sees me. While working at the University of Missouri Extension office in Perryville, Missouri, I anticipated the daily call from my oldest daughter. My two daughters would ride the bus each day from school to our home in the country. Their father who worked the midnight shift would be getting up and waiting to greet them. Although he was always there to meet them, I still had my daughter call me just to let me know they were home and see how their day had gone.
When the phone rang at work, I picked it up happily awaiting my daughter’s voice. But as soon as she began speaking, I knew something terrible had happened, something that would change our lives forever. I will always remember that little girl’s voice saying
Mommy, I think Daddy is dead!
My two daughters – only 6 and 11 – had come home to find their father laying in the driveway underneath our car. He had been working on the muffler and the jack had apparently slipped and crushed him. He had always been very careful when he worked on the car and to this day I do not understand why he raised the car with the jack and did not use anything to stabilize the car or the jack. It was not like him to be so careless. I always remind my family to be careful because it only takes one moment of carelessness to bring disaster.
Hanging onto the phone, I felt my heart would stop! It was hard to believe it was really true but the moments that followed showed me it was true. At 33 I was a widow with two little girls to raise. All kinds of questions flooded my mind.
- How would I get through the days, the years to come without my best friend?
- How would I help my daughters cope with not only their father’s death but the horror of finding him crushed beneath the car?
- How would I be able financially to take care of them with the loss of my husband’s salary?
- Who would be there to take care of them when they got home from school since I would be working?
- How would I pay for the funeral?
- Should we stay in Missouri or move back to be close to family? Could I make it on my own far from family’s support?
On and on the questions raced through my mind as I tried to grasp what had happened. It still seemed like a bad dream. Surely I would wake up soon and be in my own bed with my husband beside me and I would laugh at it all.
But it was not a dream. For the next few days I was numb. Planning the funeral, trying to comfort my daughters, trying to find answers to all those questions, slowly the sense of being in a dream began to leave and reality hit me hard.
Blessed to have family and friends who loved me and supported me, still the time came when everyone went home and back to their lives and I was left with my daughters to face the future alone. This realization came to me the first night after everyone had left. I fixed supper for the three of us and started to place the dishes and silverware on the table for us. Turning from the table to get the food from the stove, I realized I had put four plates and four setting of silverware on the table. With tears streaming down my face, I picked up the extra plate and silverware and returned them to the cabinet. In the future, we would only need three sets of dishes.
I did what I had always done in times of despair. I cried out to the Lord telling Him I did not see how I could make it through the months and years ahead, how alone I felt.
Instantly a verse of scripture came to my mind.
Lo, I am with you always…
While I know in this instance Jesus was speaking to His disciples – and through them to the church, I also realized this scripture had come to my mind by no coincidence. God saw me – this young widow living in the middle of the country – and He cared. He assured me I was not alone and that I would make it because He was with me. He was the “God who sees me.”
What you experienced is my greatest fear, Barb. I don’t know how you managed, but, clearly, you did!
Well I hope my story told how I managed – God was there with me. And hopefully you never have to experience that. When people say “I could never have that strength” I tell them you don’t have that strength now because you don’t need it. But if the time came that you ever had to face something like this, God would give you the strength. He is faithful.
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I absolutely agree. Still… God, are you listening? I’m a wuss. I don’t want to have to need this strength. Lol. Oh dear.
I agree with you that you will never have to have this strength. You hear us God?
Haha! Though my husband and I have already decided he should go first. I’m stronger emotionally than he is, unfortunately. Though, with the thought of this, I sure don’t feel it. You got to find love a second time, and that sounds like a lovely thing. I mean, if I have to pick a silver lining.