Several years ago, when my oldest daughter was 8 years old and my youngest was 6 months old, we took our first family trip to the Big Apple (aka New York City). As someone who isn’t too fond of big crowds or a life lived at break-neck speeds, it was a little overwhelming for this momma!
If you’ve never ridden the Subway before, I definitely don’t recommend trying it for the first time with a 6-month-old baby in tow. It’s not the most relaxing experience in the world.
While I loved experiencing city life and doing all of the cliché touristy things that come with a trip to New York City, I can honestly say that my one trip there will probably suffice for the rest of my life.
One of the cool things we got to experience while we were there was going to the top of the Empire State Building. While I wouldn’t consider myself to be a “helicopter mom,” I am a protective mom and I like to make sure I have eyes on my kiddos at all times, as well as making sure they are always within arm’s reach in public places.
My husband, on the other hand – well, let’s just say his parenting style is more “relaxed”. Basically, if they’re breathing, then they’re probably fine.
Well, while we were up on top of the Empire State Building, along with 50-60 other random people we didn’t know, my oldest daughter (again, who was 8 at the time), decided to stay with my husband as he looked around. I took our youngest to soak up the breathtaking view on one end of the viewing area, while my husband and oldest daughter were on the other.
As we were taking in the beautiful sights, something in me – call it mother’s intuition, instinct, or what I firmly believe, the Holy Spirit – told me to turn around and look for my family.
The moment I turned around and spotted my husband and daughter, a scene that could’ve ended in a parent’s worst nightmare began to unfold before me. My husband started to walk away, leaving our completely oblivious 8-year-old daughter behind.
As I made my way over to her from across the viewing area, dodging random strangers, and trying not to lose my cool, I saw her look up and realize she had been left alone.
She looked left. She looked right. No Mom or Dad in sight.
I could see a panicked look on her face as she began slowly walking around, looking for a familiar face. As I got closer, I started calling out her name. Her ears perked up and she looked around frantically until she finally saw me. She ran to me and threw her arms around me, tears streaming down her face.
“I was lost, Mom! I was so scared!”
This whole situation happened in under a minute, and yet, it was one of the longest and scary moments of my life.
I told her that even though she didn’t see me, I saw her the whole time. God had told me to turn around so that I could see her and go and find her. I was so thankful that I didn’t ignore the nudge God had given me to turn around at that exact moment. If I had ignored it, what a different story I could be telling today.
We went and found my husband and he didn’t even realize that he had left our daughter behind. We learned that day that it only takes a moment for something to go terribly wrong. I also learned an even bigger lesson – that God is always watching. And when He prods our heart about something seemingly random, we best perk up our spiritual ears and act immediately.
I can’t help but think of that story and be incredibly humbled. The fact that our God, the Creator of the universe and everything in it, would take the time to notice a situation that is seemingly so insignificant in the grand scheme of things and act on our behalf – man, what an awesome God we serve!
He truly is the God who sees.
It reminds me of a story I read not too long ago in the book of John. In the latter part of John chapter 1, we can read about how Jesus chose His first disciples. One of those first disciples was Nathanael, or as some believe him to be, Bartholomew.
John 1:45-51 records Nathanael’s first encounter with Jesus saying this,
“Philip found Nathanael and said to him, “We have found Him of whom Moses in the law, and also the prophets, wrote – Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.” And Nathanael said to him, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” Philip said to him, “Come and see.”
Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward Him, and said of him, “Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom is no deceit!”
Nathanael said to Him, “How do You know me?” Jesus answered and said to him, “Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you.” Nathanael answered and said to Him, “Rabbi, You are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!”
Jesus answered and said to him, “Because I said to you, ‘I saw you under the fig tree,’ do you believe? You will see greater things than these.” And He said to Him, “Most assuredly I say to you, hereafter you shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man.”
I don’t know about you, but I find so much comfort in the fact that Jesus took the time to notice each and every one of His disciples. He saw them right where they were at. He saw them when others didn’t. He took notice of their hearts and saw value in them when they didn’t seem all that valuable in the eyes of society or in the eyes of the religious elite.
He still does that today, you know.
Before He ever pursues us or calls us to follow Him, He sees us.
When we’re lost and alone. When we feel broken and without hope.
He sees us at our best and He sees us at our worst. And you know what? He loves us just the same!
When we feel like we’re all alone and like no one cares or notices us at all, we can rest assured that our God does both.
Just like when my daughter felt lost and alone at the top of the Empire State Building, not only did I see her the entire time, but God saw her and He took care of her!
God sees you, too, my friend. He sees everything you’re going through. Though it might seem like He doesn’t care or doesn’t see, He truly does.
Listen for His voice as He calls out your name! And run to Him with open arms.
He has a purpose and a plan for each and every one of us and if we’d just take the time to listen, He’ll show us how much He truly loves us.
He is so good and He is so faithful. And even when we can’t see Him, He sees us and He has promised to work all things out for our good and His glory as we commit ourselves to following Him (Romans 8:28).
Trust Him, friend. He sees you and He loves you so much.
Featured image by Priscilla Du Preez