The God who Sees and Transforms

rocky coast

In a book titled The Ethics of Mobilities: Rethinking Place, Exclusion, Freedom and Environment, the author tells a story of a woman who had decided to commit suicide. The demands on her life were too much. She could not cope with them and so, late at night after her children were in bed, she went down to the sea. She made her way to a place that she loved best, on a cliff overlooking the sea. She had chosen this place to die. As she was making her way there, she saw a metal sign fixed to one of the cliffs, engraved with words from the Psalms:

If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
    if I settle on the far side of the sea,
even there your hand will guide me,
    your right hand will hold me fast.

Beside the metal plate was a box containing other verses from the same Psalm.

Where can I go from your Spirit?
    Where can I flee from your presence?
If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
    if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
    if I settle on the far side of the sea,
even there your hand will guide me,
    your right hand will hold me fast.
If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me
    and the light become night around me,”
even the darkness will not be dark to you;
    the night will shine like the day,
    for darkness is as light to you.

She read these words and sat down for a while and then went back to her home. This was the beginning of a transformation of her soul, a decision to work through her problems and manage her life.

I read this story with profound gratitude. There was no person there to guide her. No human to stop her from her decision to end her life. But the words of a Psalm were enough.

In the Old Testament book of Genesis I read that one of the names for God is ‘El Roi’ – “the one who sees.” That the woman saw words from a Psalm on a metal sign fixed to rock, words that so eloquently speak to this God who sees, is not a coincidence. Her life was transformed by encountering “the God who sees.” 

In the real world of waking, working, eating, sleeping – repeating the cycle over and over and over again – it is easy to forget that I know “the God who sees.” That same God who knit me in the womb of my mom, who watched over my birth, who has revealed himself in countless ways and times in my own life – he is the God who sees. He is the God who sees my heart and my surroundings; he is the God who sees our world in its broken state, the God who when on earth said “Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven.”

Today is a grey day, a day where the warmth of sunshine and summer feel too far away. But here is truth: I know the God who sees and transforms.Today that is enough. 

She gave this name to the LORD who spoke to her: “You are the God who sees me,” for she said, “I have now seen the One who sees me.” That is why the well was called Beer Lahai Roi [the “well of the Living One who sees me”].Genesis 16:13–14

*Psalm 139

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