Enjoy this Devotional by FlourishWriters Student Ruth Gardner Woods
Potholes are not supposed to eat shoes, but this one did. It was the most unusual thing. My day was going along like every other school day. I dutifully lined up with all the other second graders preparing to leave the freedom of the playground and mournfully return to the rigors of phonics and arithmetic. As we crossed the street, my left foot slipped into a hole in the street. I lifted my foot, but my shoe was gone. I knelt down and reached into the hole to retrieve my footwear. I could not feel the bottom. A teacher stopped to assist me, but she could not feel the bottom either. My shoe was gone. Wearing only one shoe, I hurried to rejoin my parade of peers entering the school building. Unfortunately, that is when the laughter began.
It was only a few snickers at first. As I passed the classrooms, the word spread until everyone was laughing. Tears slowly streamed down my face. Teachers quickly quieted the children, but I was not crying because of the laughter. I cried because that had been my only pair of shoes. I come from a family of ten children (only eight of us had been born at that time). We did not have much money; we had to share a lot as kids, but those shoes were my own. They were the only pair I had. Now, one half of the pair was gone.
The next day at school, I was called to the principal’s office. Wearing my brother’s too-big-for-me gym shoes that no longer fit him, I clunked down the hall. It turned out the principal did not want to see me. Her secretary, Mrs. Voltz, asked me to follow her into the office. Mrs. Voltz handed me a blue and white box. Bewildered, I cautiously opened the box and found a pair of bright red gym shoes. They did not have a name brand or fancy insignia, but they were the most beautiful shoes I had ever held. It was the first pair of new shoes I had ever owned. Until then, I did not even realize that shoes came in boxes. Mrs. Voltz was relieved they fit; she happily sent me back to my classroom. I proudly left that office wearing my new red shoes.
Mrs. Voltz really saw me and my need. She left work that day, went to the store, and used her money to buy me a pair of red shoes. She did not have to do any of that, but she did. She showed me I was worth her time, effort, and resources.
Sometimes we wonder, Does anyone still see me and my needs? We wonder if we are worth anyone’s time, effort, and resources. Some days we feel like we are drowning in a too-big-for-me world with too-big-for-me problems.
Hagar felt like that. Genesis 16 tells how Sarai and Abram decided to disrupt the servant Hagar’s life by making her one of Abram’s wives so he could get her pregnant. When she conceives, nothing is the same for Hagar. Tension grows between her and Sarai, her mistress. When Sarai brings up the problems with Abram, he basically says that Hagar is Sarai’s problem, not his. Then Sarai starts to mistreat Hagar. With problems bigger than she can handle and no one to help her, Hagar leaves.
The Bible says that Hagar met the angel of the Lord by a spring in the desert near the road to Shur. Up to that point, it looked like Hagar was going to have to figure this out alone. Maybe she was going to fill up on water and head down the road to escape her too-big-for-me world with too-big-for-me problems. It is interesting how that can happen to us. Just when we think we have settled on how to handle the problem and devise a viable solution, God shows up. The angel of the Lord told her to return to Sarai and revealed God’s promises to Hagar and her unborn son. When Hagar heard the words of the Lord, she said, “You are the God who sees me . . . I have now seen the One who sees me” (Genesis 16:13 NIV).
Hagar’s words are true for you too. When it seems like no one cares about your or your problems, God sees you. Sometimes those words do not seem true, but they are true. Try saying it slowly with me. God. Sees. Me. He saw pregnant Hagar in the desert and sent an angel. He saw shoeless me in the second grade and sent Mrs. Voltz. When you are tempted to feel alone, remember that the Creator of the universe sees you, and He cares about the outcomes in your life. Take a moment to look around you to see how the One who sees you is showing up in your life today.
Ruth Gardner Woods is a lover of words, miner of thoughts, and doula of dreams. Ruth shares life with her wonderful husband and five inspiring children. Ruth has been a home educator since 2004. A love of travel has taken their family across most of the United States and into many other countries. When she steals a quiet moment at home, Ruth can be found curled up with a good book and a warm cup of tea.