Being Seen

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about being known, about what it means and how it feels to have someone get me. I wrote a facebook note about it recently and, judging by the comments, realized that it’s largely a female phenomenon, this desire to be truly understood. In fact, some of the guys who read it had never even thought about it before.

The responses from the women, on the other hand, were emotional and intense. Friend after friend emailed me telling me about how deeply they wanted to be understood and how rarely they felt that happening.

Interesting, I think, that Jesus keyed in on this difference in the sexes. Over and over again in the New Testament (and even perhaps in the Old) we read about Jesus “seeing” women—not just perceiving them but knowing them.

For example, in Luke 7:44, after a sinful woman has washed Jesus’ feet with her hair, Jesus says to Simon (a Pharisee and the dinner host), “Do you see this woman? I came into your house. You did not give me any water for my feet, but she wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair.” Obviously Simon sees the woman, but does he see her—Does he see her broken heart? Does he realize how much pain she’s in?  Does he hurt with her?

Again in Luke 7, Jesus sees a woman—actually feels the pain she’s feeling: “As he approached the town gate, a dead person was being carried out—the only son of his mother, and she was a widow. And a large crowd from the town was with her. When the Lord saw her, his heart went out to her and he said, “Don’t cry.”“

On the cross, Jesus can’t help but see the women around Him, this time striving to meet his mother’s needs even as He Himself is in need: “Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother, his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus saw his mother there, and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to his mother, “Dear woman, here is your son,” and to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” From that time on, this disciple took her into his home.”

And these aren’t the only examples. The poor widow who gave alll she had and the woman at the well jump out to me…

I think Hagar sums it up best after meeting “the angel of the Lord” (most probably Jesus in His pre-NT form). Genesis 16: 13 says, “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.’”

I have so much to say about all of this, but for now I’ll just say this: I am overwhelmed at the reality of being known by an all-powerful, all-beneficent God. I mean, I’m happy when a friend remembers my birthday; imagine how overjoyed I am to be seen by my God.