Empty streets of Milan, Italy during the pandemic
Photo by Alberto Trentanni on Flickr CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

There’s something strange about the crisis the world is undergoing right now: from the outside, things look surprisingly normal.

If you view the streets of your town during this pandemic, most things look the same as they did before. The buildings are intact, the streetlights come on at night like clockwork, and the spring flowers are blooming. This isn’t a crisis like a flood or earthquake, where the devastation is plain to see.

The COVID-19 crisis seems almost invisible, until you realize that something isn’t quite right when you look around: missing from the scene is the normal hum of human activity. The workplaces are shut, people aren’t in restaurants, and children aren’t in playgrounds. An eerie quiet pervades most areas.

It’s only when you look behind closed doors that you see the devastating impact of the pandemic. The high death toll in some nursing homes, the stressed out health care workers, and the loneliness of self-isolation.

When we have a crisis of our own, like depression or despair, we can look a bit like those intact buildings. Things look normal from the outside. When people look at us, there’s no evidence of the turmoil raging within.

Problems like anxiety, depression or loneliness are invisible crises. They’re not immediately noticeable from the outside, like a broken arm or a limp would be.

A sign that something’s not right is what’s missing from your life: laughter, joy, meaning, hope, a reason to live. But even people who know you well might not readily notice the absence of these things in your life. They may not realize that behind your façade you’re falling into a spiral of despair.

But there is someone who doesn’t miss a thing: our Heavenly Father. He’s acutely aware of your distress and anxiety. God doesn’t miss the signs; He sees your pain. In fact, one of His titles is “the God who sees.”

In Genesis 16 we learn the story of Hagar, a woman who was mistreated and alone. God saw her distress and affliction, and reached out to her to show that He cared. In grateful response, Hagar called Him “El-roi,” which means “You are the God who sees.”

Just as God saw Hagar’s distress, He sees yours too. He loves you, and longs to help you if you would only reach out to Him.

Crosses reflected in girl’s eyes
Photo by Jeff Jacobs on Pixabay

If God sees us, can we see God? Yes! We think of God as being invisible, but that’s not quite true. Jesus was a perfect reflection of His Father in Heaven. Through His life, teachings, and sacrifice, Jesus gives us a picture of what God’s character is like. If you want to “see” God, get to know His Son Jesus.

In Luke 4:18, Scripture tells us that Jesus came to heal the brokenhearted.

Psalm 34:18 says: “The LORD is close to the brokenhearted; he rescues those whose spirits are crushed.”

Are you feeling brokenhearted or crushed in spirit during this pandemic? Do you feel like no one sees what you’re going through? Many people are in despair during this pandemic: calls to crisis lines have spiked, the number of suicides has risen dramatically, and more people are turning to drugs and alcohol in an attempt to cope with the stress.

If you need someone to pray with you during this stressful time, consider calling the 24/7 prayer line offered by the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. The wonderful people there will listen to you, pray with you, and show you the love of Jesus.

During these distressing times, turn to the God who sees you, the God who cares, the God who loves you so much He sent His son to die for your sins!

© 2020 Lori J. Cartmell. All rights reserved.

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