Hope for the Mundane
I am a mom. This means I spend a great deal of each day performing thankless activities. There are school lunches to be made, clothes to be washed, a house to be cleaned, food to be prepared and dirty socks everywhere. And there is not a lot of recognition for any of these tasks. In fact, often the only time my mom duties get noticed is when they do not get done. Suddenly someone is paying attention.
We all face unrewarding or mindless tasks every day.
You certainly don't have to be a mom to experience the mundane of life, do you? We all face unrewarding or mindless tasks every day. It often seems that much of life is spent going through the motions, whether it is at home, work, church, wherever.
I find this maddening, if I'm honest. I have spent countless mornings stomping around the house asking myself why I have to do everything around here and why no one cares. I long to be noticed, appreciated and applauded – even if it's simply for wiping up the spill on the counter. I mean come on, that deserves some recognition, right? In all seriousness, much of what I do in a day shouldn't be made a big deal of by my family. It's just part of life. But that doesn't make it easier to feel unnoticed.
In the Old Testament, one of the names God is called by is El Roi, the God who sees (Genesis 16:13)
Names for God in the Bible are given to communicate his character and to help us better understand the fullness of who he is. In the Old Testament, one of the names God is called by is El Roi, the God who sees (Genesis 16:13). Hagar had fled from Sarai after becoming pregnant with Ishmael. She was desperate and alone in the wilderness but the Lord spoke to her. He instructed her to return home and be faithful to her position.
Yet, he gave her a promise! She would have a son who would be the beginning of a great legacy. God would not forget her, regardless of her circumstances. She responded by calling him El Roi and testified that he was looking out for her. She was trying to be unseen - by Abram and others who might be looking for her, or by those who might seek to harm her while she was traveling alone - but God saw. He saw and cared.
So Am I Ever Really Unnoticed?
Never. I belong to the God who sees.
I have heard this name, El Roi, before. I have faith that he does indeed see. However, I have usually thought of his being all-seeing and all-knowing in an almost negative way. He sees everything I do. In other words, everything I do wrong. He knows it all.
When no one else seems to care or recognize, God does.
Certainly this is true. He does see every sin. (Jeremiah 16:17) But He sees everything we do. Not just the bad. He sees the good. Those major wins we have. He sees, he notices and he delights! But what I had never stopped to appreciate is that he sees the mundane, too. When no one else seems to care or recognize, God does.
God saw Hagar when Abram and Sarai sought to take advantage of her and discard her. He knew her despair. He knew that she felt unloved. He reached out to her in just the way she needed giving her hope, direction and purpose.
He Cares About Every Detail!
His care and notice of us runs so deep that he knows even the number of hairs on your head (Luke 12:7). Talk about the mundane! He knows every word that is on your tongue and every thought that runs through your head (Psalm 139:4). He sees every dirty sock. He sees you!
He delights simply to watch over your everyday activities.
In those moments of your day when you feel unappreciated, he cares for you in a deeply personal way. He is not waiting for you to do something important enough to take note of. He delights simply to watch over your everyday activities. In fact, Scripture tells us that he sees us when we sit down and stand up, when we walk and when we lie down. And the Psalmist exalts in the comfort of being so watched over by the Lord! (Psalm 139:1-6)
We Cannot Hide From Him
So how do we respond to the truth that God is seeing every action? We remind ourselves regularly of his goodness and grace. And then we do even the most mundane of tasks faithfully (Colossians 3:23-24). We do them while depending on him to give us joy and perseverance. We mop up the spills and collect the dirty socks. We enter the data and answer the emails. We sweep the steps and cook the meals. And we do it to the very best of our ability. When we do these things faithfully – he takes note when no one else does and what we do matters to him.
It is certainly true that the thought of God seeing our every move can be disconcerting. When I am stomping around in the morning playing the martyr, I’d rather him not watch. When he sees us in the times we are not at our best, we can take comfort in that, too. We can lean into the comforting reassurance of our Savior. God is not unaware of our sin, but he loves us still (Romans 5:8). He sent his Son to take the punishment for our sin (1 Peter 2:24). When we put our trust in him and commit to following him, he sets us free from our bondage to sin (1 John 1:9). And so knowing that nothing we do goes unnoticed can bring us to quicker repentance and greater joy.
So the question we are left with is: Isn't that enough? Will knowing that God sees, appreciates and delights in my faithful performance of the most boring responsibilities be acknowledgement enough? Or will I continue to seek for recognition and worth from other sources? No matter where we turn (aside from Him), we will be disappointed every time. But when we look to the Creator of the universe and the Savior of the world and realize that we are seen…well, that never disappoints.