He Sees Me

I just returned home from a sweet and refreshing {and a wee bit exhausting} weekend at Great Wolf Lodge with over 700 of my dear friends who co-labor together in the crazy ministry of Young Life.

At this regional leadership retreat, we worshipped, studied, listened, prayed and laughed. Some people grew moss whilst waiting in lines for the slides that carried them into a petrie dish of frothiness as a wolf and a squirrel danced nearby, surprisingly unaffected by the tropical indoor climate. Totally normal. I did not partake.

Our gift on Saturday evening was the most incredibly artful and ingenious “play of sorts” by Scott Erickson. His personal story interwoven with the gospel, exposing the doubt and fear and depression and hope that comes with grappling with faith was beautiful and uncomfortable and raw and so full of good vulnerable life giving stuff.  As he closed and left the stage, after a standing ovation, the room fell silent. There was a time when staff people were invited forward to be available to pray or talk with those present who needed to process.  As I walked forward, I asked the Lord, “Is there someone specific? Who should I pray for?” Immediately, emerging from my heart up to my brain, which is most often the trajectory of the voice that comes from the Holy Spirit, came the words. “Red flannel shirt and brown hair.”  And as I continued to listen, I got the sense that I was to pray for a broken heart. That this person was experiencing open wounds… but there was assurance that what was once gaping and open would be covered with beautiful scars. Scars that bore testimony of a story that shaped and marked the future, but a healing and a hope and a renewal that was sure. The scars on Jesus hands are so glorious in the same sense… sorrow turned to joy.

I got a little excited and a little nervous. I still sometimes have doubt creep up… how can I be sure that was the voice of the Lord?!

But truth trumps my doubt. He has invited me to trust that I hear his voice. Trust that what sounds like Him, what points to love and hope and does not conflict with the spirit and truth of Jesus and His word, is really Him. And that then I should do a little trust fall right into those words. And every time He has proved true, my trust and faith and love for him grow. And if I want anything in this world, it is for my heart with Jesus to grow.

I scanned the room as I waited, people streaming out in silence. A girl passed with brown hair and a red plaid shirt. “Her?” She continued walking out the door. The room largely emptied, and I took a seat near the door, continuing to watch and listen. It was so quiet.  And then the back of a woman at the front of the room caught my attention. Deep red plaid flannel shirt, brown hair. I didn’t know who she was. She was praying for someone. I began talking to the Lord, looking up every so often. A young woman a row away from me was weeping. I asked the Lord if perhaps in the interim I was supposed to ask her if I could pray for her but He was quiet. “She must be having an important moment with the Lord that needs not be interrupted,” I thought. I glanced up again. My plaid shirted friend still had her arm around someone, praying.

And then a dear brother who I have served alongside of in the mission of Young Life caught my eye. He was walking toward me with a smile on his face. This young man is of great character, a soft heart and a deep love for the Lord. He came over and sat in front of me and as he began to speak, I thought, “well lord, his shirt is burgundy and he has brown hair but I am not sure this is who you were talking about. He fumbled for a moment explaining how he was about to leave the room. But then caught sight of me near the door. And he felt a prompting to pray for me. Thinking it awkward, he again set his mind toward leaving and again felt the push. He prayed and waited, thinking maybe when he opened his eyes I would be gone and it would confirm it was just a fleeting thought, but looked up to see me still sitting, waiting, and decided to follow the prompting. As he finished describing his internal struggle of the previous moments, he asked, “This might be for me more than for you, but can I pray for you?”

I was so struck by his honesty. By his willingness to listen. By the courage it took to obey the still small voice that often seems a little crazy at face value. By his humble inquiry if he could pray for me.

I of course said yes.

And he began to pray. Thanking God for my role as a wife and a mom, for the molding that the Lord is doing in me… at the first line, I began to shake from deep within, a result of my weeping. Not sad tears. I weep whenever I am in the presence of the Lord. Sometimes it is pretty ugly. I sort of end up looking like Kiss, with black mascara streaks down my cheeks. I really need to start wearing waterproof mascara when I go to places where I think God might likely show up.

This weeping was an overwhelming sense that God was near.

You see, behind the words that my friend prayed, the spirit was speaking. You know how the bible says that the spirit of God intercedes for us? How he helps us? Well, it was as if there were two layers of prayer happening, as if there were a camera half underwater and half above water capturing the happenings of two worlds, hearing the words of people and also the words of the spirit of God simultaneously. And for a moment I got a split-screen glimpse.

As my friend prayed, I heard God speak to me deep in my spirit, “As you are watching and waiting for others, I am watching and waiting for YOU.”

There is this beautiful story in the book of Genesis about a woman in slavery, used, abused, cast out, left out. She is marginalized, unwanted, largely unwelcome in the family of God. And yet God seeks her out in the middle of a desert place and she gives God…. the same God revealed in Jesus, this name: El Roi. The GOD who SEES ME. 

He is the same God yesterday, today and tomorrow. He is the God who SEES me.

As my eyes are focused elsewhere, His eyes are on me.

And on you.

Hear me now, when I say to you today… He sees you.

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