Quarterly Journals
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The God Who Sees Me

“So she called the name of the Lord who spoke to her, ‘You are a God of seeing,’ for she said, ‘Truly here I have seen him who looks after me.’ “ – Genesis 16:13 ESV

The story of Hagar reminds me of my own family heritage. When I researched my family history, I discovered that my mother’s family grew up on a plantation picking cotton, and my father’s family grew up on a farm, picking peanuts and delivering the peanuts by horse-driven wagon to the local planter’s factory. My family was treated cruelly by their master in times of slavery.

You know the story. You’ve heard it preached many times, and some of you have read it. Hagar was an Egyptian slave woman of Sarai (Gen 16:1). The Egyptians were descendants of Ham, who was the progenitor of the African (Black) peoples. Sarai had not borne any children to Abram, her husband, so she gave her slave girl, Hagar, to Abram to wife. Scripture tells us that when Sarai knew that Hagar was pregnant, she despised her, and dismissed her. But the angel of the Lord found her near a spring of water in the desert and commanded her to go back to Sarai.

He told her that she was pregnant with a son, and that his name would be Ishmael because the Lord had heard how badly she had been mistreated. The angel of the Lord told Hagar that her son would be wild and free like a donkey; that he would be against everyone, and everyone would be against him. He told her that her son would move from place to place and camp near his brothers. The Lord talked to Hagar, and she began to use a new name for God. She said to Him, “You are God Who Sees Me”. She said this because she thought, “I see that even in this place God sees me and cares for me!”

When I reflect on the humble beginnings of my family, I can imagine there were many times that they prayed for deliverance and peace. They probably said the same thing that Hagar had said, “I see that even in this place God sees me and cares for me.”

I look around now an I see the beautiful family that God has given me and the beautiful home, and the great career, and I say, “God sees me and cares for me.” Even while riding the back of the bus, drinking from “colored” water fountains, and being refused their civil rights, it was the all-seeing, all-knowing, everywhere, on-time God that sustained my family, like He did Hagar.

So, whenever you feel in despair, or feel like a failure, or when you feel lonely, and like no one cares, I encourage you, do like I do…reflect on the Biblical story of Hagar and remember that in every situation, God sees…and He cares…for you!

 

Submitted by Trustee Stanley Ridley



Beyond the Sunday Morning Shout

“Sing unto the Lord, O ye saints of His, and give thanks at the remembrance of His holiness.” – Psalm 30:4 KJV

My grandmother on my mom’s side was Mahala Grey Parker. Mahala spent most of her time at Church. She took care of her husband, her family and us grandkids. She made sure there was always food to eat, and then she was off to Bible Study, choir rehearsal, or some other church function that could not open the doors without her. We watched her, as children, and didn’t quite understand why she shouted all the time, and spent so much time at Church; and we really didn’t like it when she dragged us along. But it was through her example, among other Church ladies, that I learned the value of commitment to faith in my life, and the desire to live a deeper life; to be more committed to something more that the surface life.

I am grateful for her example, because I know that through her many hours of prayer with groaning’s that I certainly did not understand, I am an answered prayer. But even though committed, that old-time religion seems like a thing of the past. Yeah, we work in the church, and we spend countless hours “doing ministry”, but I’m not sure the commitment is the same. Something seems to be lacking. Maybe it is through lack of knowledge or maybe just through experience, it appears that today’s Church has been lulled into a sense of euphoria when it comes to the things of God. I speak for no one but myself, but I think we bale out too quickly. I think we give up too soon. We don’t fight for faith hard enough, and I think that as Christians (the redeemed people of God) we live two lives: one with Christ as the Head; the other with ourselves.

Unlike my grandmother, I think I’m guilty of thinking that He’s responsible for my “Spiritual Life”, and I am responsible for the rest. But my life in Christ is far better with Him as the head, and not me. I want to give up in those times when I struggle with two natures, one bod, one soul, one spirit; and one life, but we are compelled to learn, through God’s Word, that it’ll has to work together, for our good and His glory. I have deity living & operating in me & orchestrating my life, so when I leave church on Sunday, I don’t have to live my life waiting to get to Wednesday Night Bible Study, or Sunday Morning Worship, because my life IN-CHRIST. In Christ, I am complete. In Christ, there’s no Sunday Worship, and Monday Blues. I am joint-heirs with Him. I am sanctified in Him and I am a new creation in Him. I am made alive to God in Christ, and we all are blessed with all spiritual blessings in Christ Jesus.

Through my relationship and fellowship with Him, I am learning what my grandmother knew, and that is, that I cannot live life without Him on any given day. The realization of my life as a new creature IN CHRIST gives me the freedom to walk boldly in the world. Freedom to be unafraid, and the Blessed Assurance that I belong to Jesus Christ.

My grandma passed away many years ago, at the age of 85, and she left a legacy that I shall never forget. Miss Mahala knew how to depend on od, and she never robbed Him of His praise. She would shout out of her seat, and we kids, would be ashamed, but she knew then what I know now: the only shame is not praising Him.

 

Submitted by Deaconess Irene Gardon