There is such a deep seated need within our hearts to be seen.
Children feel no need to hide this aspect of human nature. How often have you heard a child beg, “Look at me!” or felt little fingers tapping on your arm for attention? Have you ever noticed how often they glance up, checking to see if their parent—or even a complete stranger—is watching, observing and delighting in their antics? It’s as if there is something embedded in their little souls with an unrelenting, insistent need to be seen, to see the shine of delight and affection in someone’s eyes. It’s as if in this big, overwhelming world, caring eyes turned on them provide a secure anchor for their play, their creativity, their adventure.
I’m convinced we change little in this regard as we grow older. We’re merely socialized and disciplined to not make our hunger for seen-ness so obvious or insistent. Perhaps we’ve learned to discern whose eyes and attention to care about. But in our souls still hides this same aching desire, the same questions: Do you see me? Do you delight in what you see?
When I look deeply at my own soul, these are the questions I find, and they are particularly poignant in my relationship with the Lord. In some moments, I am a small girl, twirling and dancing, skirts and ribbons flying, in fields of sunshine, face upturned: Do you see me? In others, I am cowering, hugging my knees to my chest, lost in the darkness with a storm swirling around, calling out to be found: Do you see me?
In the moments of sunshine, the answer is easy to hear. The light, life, and joy bursting from my chest scream, “Yes, yes child, I see you. I delight in you. You are mine.”
But in the other moments, the other seasons, my hearing becomes clouded. I have thought many times that in times of struggle, pain, and doubt, I don’t want an answer to my questions of why as much as an answer to this resounding question—Do you see me? Do you see me here, struggling, trying to keep faithfully walking on? Do you see me here in my pain, in my loneliness, in my questions? For if you don’t, then I am lost, and that would be more terrifying than anything else.
I am thankful that when we cannot hear His answer with the ears of our hearts, He has already provided an answer for us (Psalm 139:7-12).
Where can I go from your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence?
If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
if I settle on the far side of the sea,
even there your hand will guide me,
your right hand will hold me fast.
If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me
and the light become night around me,”
even the darkness will not be dark to you;
the night will shine like the day,
for darkness is as light to you.
What a blessed promise that there is no place we can go, no place life can take us in which we are not seen. We are not lost. We cannot be lost. He has given us an answer, even in the times of fear and doubt—“Yes, child, I see you. I delight in you. You are mine.”
Friends, the eyes of our good Father are turned toward us. If the childlike eyes of our souls could see Him, they would catch His gaze already upon us, twinkling with love and delight, darkened by concern and compassion. As his children, we are seen ones, for He is the One-Who-Sees.