Some of the most heart-warming messages I’ve received from God are as simple as “I see you.” All of us have had periods feeling overlooked and underappreciated, like we are only supporting characters in someone else’s story.

I am convinced that it is in moments of isolation that people to develop their worst habits and dependencies. Being “seen” by God isn’t just something that’s nice, it’s something we need to be our healthiest, best selves.

In this study I’d like to examine the different ways God sees us, the positive effects that come about by being seen by Him, and what we can do to more fully feel His light around us.

Luke 19:2-9

And, behold, there was a man named Zacchæus, which was the chief among the publicans, and he was rich.
And he sought to see Jesus who he was; and could not for the press, because he was little of stature.
And he ran before, and climbed up into a sycomore tree to see him: for he was to pass that way.
And when Jesus came to the place, he looked up, and saw him, and said unto him, Zacchæus, make haste, and come down; for to day I must abide at thy house.
And he made haste, and came down, and received him joyfully.
And when they saw it, they all murmured, saying, That he was gone to be guest with a man that is a sinner.
And Zacchæus stood, and said unto the Lord; Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor; and if I have taken any thing from any man by false accusation, I restore him fourfold.
And Jesus said unto him, This day is salvation come to this house, forsomuch as he also is a son of Abraham.

And he sought to see Jesus who he was; and could not…because he was little of stature.
And when they saw it, they all murmured, saying, That he was gone to be guest with a man that is a sinner.
Zacchæus was a man “little of stature,” one easy to overlook. Yet Jesus saw him even so. He was also easily misjudged because of his background, yet Jesus saw the real him even so. Jesus saw the man, Jesus saw the heart.
I feel Zacchæus is a character that pretty much anyone can empathize with on one level or another. We all have our times of feeling like small people that the world has little value for. When we accomplish something, no one notices. When we speak, our words are misinterpreted. Most people don’t even see us, and if they do they don’t see us rightly.
Zacchæus may have “sought to see Jesus who he was,” but he was rewarded with a friend who would “see Zacchæus who he was.” Here at last was a person who would really get him. A person that would recognize and appreciate his faithful efforts. A person that would want to abide in his house and hear his sorrows. A person that would know him intimately, call him by name, and bless his home.

Luke 21:1-4

And he looked up, and saw the rich men casting their gifts into the treasury.
And he saw also a certain poor widow casting in thither two mites.
And he said, Of a truth I say unto you, that this poor widow hath cast in more than they all:
For all these have of their abundance cast in unto the offerings of God: but she of her penury hath cast in all the living that she had.

And he saw also a certain poor widow
Previously we examined a rich and enthusiastic man who climbed a tree just to get a good look at Jesus. Jesus recognized and appreciated his efforts, which gives me confidence that he sees all of our silly attempts to catch his attention as well.
In the gospels we see many other bold individuals: brave Peter asking to walk on the water, the sinful woman washing the Savior’s feet with her own tears, brash Paul unapologetically butting heads with his fellow apostles.
But today we have a much more quiet example, one of a person that is not vying for attention at all. She is a poor widow casting her meager contribution into the temple treasury. Surrounded by others that are far better in worldly terms, she is nonetheless immediately recognized for her quiet faith by the Savior.
I’m sure each of us has done something nice for another and had it gone unnoticed. We have seen how society flocks around the drama or a repentant sinner while the quietly consistent disciple goes forgotten. We have wanted to be humble, but also wanted to be appreciated.
This story of the poor widow assures us that Jesus sees and validates all our efforts to follow. If all the world forget us, he at least never will.

Mark 5:25, 27-34

And a certain woman, which had an issue of blood twelve years,
When she had heard of Jesus, came in the press behind, and touched his garment.
For she said, If I may touch but his clothes, I shall be whole.
And straightway the fountain of her blood was dried up; and she felt in her body that she was healed of that plague.
And Jesus, immediately knowing in himself that virtue had gone out of him, turned him about in the press, and said, Who touched my clothes?
And his disciples said unto him, Thou seest the multitude thronging thee, and sayest thou, Who touched me?
And he looked round about to see her that had done this thing.
But the woman fearing and trembling, knowing what was done in her, came and fell down before him, and told him all the truth.
And he said unto her, Daughter, thy faith hath made thee whole; go in peace, and be whole of thy plague.

And his disciples said unto him, Thou seest the multitude thronging thee, and sayest thou, Who touched me?
I’ve always been impressed how this story illustrates the Savior’s ability to tell the difference between those that brush by him and those that touch him. To the disciples it was impossible to distinguish between the multitude and the one, but to the Savior the distinction was entirely clear.
To this day many people throng around Jesus, but our desire is to be one of the ones that reach out and actually connect with him, and our hope is that he will recognize us when we do.
Personally I can attest that there is a real difference between the two. I’ve been the individual who meanders around Jesus, thoughtlessly going to church and saying my prayers only because it is “what I’m supposed to do.” But I’ve also been the one that desperately needed healing and reached out in hope that he was really there for me. Having felt the sweet reassurance of the latter, I never want to go back to the first.

Life Example

My dearest spiritual experiences have to do with the times that I felt the Lord was seeing me directly. Though I may try to appear as an entirely self-dependent adult to the world, in my heart I am still His child and I still crave His awareness of me.

Growing up I was the fourth child of nine. Though each one of us has always been a distinct individual, it was still hard to not feel labelled as “another one of the Austins.” In fact people still mistake me for one or another of my brothers even today. Any time I reached a milestone in life I had already seen brothers and sisters get there before me. Every accomplishment I achieved had already been exceeded by one sibling or another. I always felt that I was distinct, but I didn’t feel recognized as such.

If nine children seems like a lot, how about the billions of our Heavenly Father? And yet, remarkably, God has never treated me like a “one of.” In many interactions He has reiterated to me that I am “His only.” By which I mean that while He may have many children, I am the only me that He has. I am the only me that He will ever have. And He holds me precious because of that.

Though in the scriptures we hear Him promise blessings to all His children, in my experience He makes a point of delivering those blessings individually. You don’t receive His spirit because you are “one of” anything, you receive it because you are you. Never forget: though the rain may shower us all, the drops that fall on you are individual, they touch no one else.

Summary

As I suggested at the beginning of this series, our topic is one that is very near and dear to my heart. I feel that too often the notion of God seeing all is used to provoke fear in those that are doing wrong, leaving the far more beautiful side of that truth forgotten. A truth that God is never apart from the lonely, that He never misunderstands the misunderstood, that He does not fail to see the overlooked. He is the cure to what ails us.

Jesus Overlooks No One

Humans are finite beings with limited capacities. Even if you never meant to ignore someone, you most certainly have at some point or another. It’s not something we have to feel guilty about (unless it is done intentionally) because our reality is one of mortal limitations.
Anyone that has done any sort of ministry work where they strive for the souls of others knows the reality of this. Anyone who has been a parent knows this. There are simply too many people for you to be there for all of them at all times. There are too many problems that you don’t know the perfect answer to. Perhaps if you could be all things to all people you would, but you simply can’t. And that is why at the end of the day we always have to turn things over to God. He is the one that time and space do not limit, that hunger or stress do not distract. He will always see His children.
Luke 2:5- And when Jesus came to the place, he looked up, and saw him.
Luke 21:2- And he saw also a certain poor widow casting in thither two mites.

Jesus Sees Correctly

I remember a time I went with my wife and son to a park. We played for a little while, had a good time, and then told our son it was time to go to an appointment. He was about two at the time, and seemed fine with the arrangement at first, but as we got back into our car, though, he started to cry and shout. I assumed he just didn’t want to stop playing, explained to him we really had to go, and proceeded to force him into his car seat.
As I got into the driver’s seat my wife was finally able to make out what he was saying: he had dropped his toy car in the grass as we left and didn’t want us to drive away without it. Thankfully we were able to find it, but I left feeling incredibly humbled.
I had been there the whole time, but I had entirely misread the situation. I was unknowingly signalling to my son that I didn’t care about his things. Again, we have finite limitations, and one of the most pronounced is we so often fail to communicate. We misjudge things all the time. I am so grateful to know that my son has another Father, too, one who will never misunderstand him. One who will see directly to the heart of every matter.
Luke 21:3-4- And he said, Of a truth I say unto you, that this poor widow hath cast in more than they all: For all these have of their abundance cast in unto the offerings of God: but she of her penury hath cast in all the living that she had.

When We Are Seen We Are Made Better

When finally we meet that Lord who always sees us and always sees us rightly, then all the good parts of our heart start to unlock. One of the most common trends in those that commit crimes, particularly violent ones, is that they have a history of isolation. When people are not a part of a community, when they don’t have loved ones at home, when there is no one to see them and understand them, then the worst parts tend to come out.
The opposite is true as well. When one feels acknowledged, understood, and validated they are most likely to seek their own self improvement, find meaningful work, and contribute back to their society.
Some of us may go through periods of loneliness, where we don’t have immediate family members or friends nearby to accompany us. And even if we did have them around us, there would still be those times that they misread us.
But there always remains a Savior who sees us, one who has promised His constant companionship. He sees us and He wants to tell us about all the wonderful things that He sees. Have you ever asked Him to share? I promise you that only good will come of it.
Matthew 28:20- Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.