Written by Laura Strack - Heartland Church of Fort Wayne
She answered God by name, praying to the God who spoke to her, “You’re the God who sees me!”
“Yes! He saw me; and then I saw him!” (Genesis 16:13 MSG)
Her name was Zara. She was small in stature, usually quiet, and not very friendly, and was often rather cantankerous when she was out and about. She mostly kept to herself but would wander out once in a while to roam the halls on the Alzheimer’s unit where I had recently started not only a new job but a new chapter in my life. Zara also had a little bit of a reputation with the staff, who warned, “Watch out for her; she’s a little mean!”
One day Zara had come out of her room and was sitting in a chair in the common area by the nurse’s desk. I was on my way to fulfill some task, in a hurry as usual, and as I rounded the corner where she was sitting, she grabbed me by the hand as I passed by. I remember thinking, “Oh Lord, now what?” but I stopped and stooped down to see what she needed.
Zara placed both of her cold, wrinkled hands on my face, looked me square in the eye, and with complete clarity and compassion said, “Honey, God wants you to know how special you are and that you’re doing a good job. He loves you so much.” She dropped her hands from my face, and turned away, once again in her own little world. I was completely undone! I thanked her and searched for a quiet corner where I could collect myself so I didn’t start bawling like a baby!
Right there in the middle of an Alzheimer’s unit, I came face to face with God. He saw where I was, knew what I needed, and cared enough to communicate His love and understanding through the most unexpected of sources. He has a way of finding us in our low places, our fearful places, places we would least expect to see Him.
I began to ask questions about Zara’s history and background. I found out her name, Zara, means “princess,” and she had been very actively involved in church leadership before this disease took over her mind. God didn’t just see me, He also saw Zara. He saw the eternal part of her that belonged to Him, and it certainly changed the way I saw Zara. I took time to read the Psalms or sing hymns and choruses to her on occasion, but I don’t recall ever seeing her do anything again like she did that day.
Life today is such a challenge! We find ourselves isolated from one another because of the pandemic. Fear and frustration have been rampant, but God is not hindered by disease or isolation or fear or frustration. He SEES us. My prayer is that we will encounter God during these times and respond, “You’re the God who sees me!” Yes! He saw me; and then I saw him!