The “coincidences” just continue. And I keep thinking just one of you might be coming around here, still wondering if I’m making things up, or if I’m slightly delusional, or if I am just calling the daffodil of coincidence a rose by another name. Or something like that. My plan is to just keep telling stories, and keep hoping you’ll believe me sooner or later.

So last month, our paycheck was seriously less than what we usually receive on a monthly basis. Translation: it wasn’t enough to pay our outgoings. It was kind of a, hmm…food or rent? moment. I think I responded by weakly saying “The Lord’s gonna provide” and deciding I just didn’t have the emotional capacity to deal with worrying about it at that moment. But before I’d even had a chance to pray a prayer or lose myself in worry and concern, an email from my Mom was in my inbox.

She was just two weeks from departure for her trip to visit us here. And she just up and decided (and by that I would like to point to the work of the Holy Spirit) that she would share with her Sunday School class and ask if they would like to make a contribution to our ministry, since we’d just moved into an unfurnished place and were trusting for the rest of the funds for flights home, etc. They decided to give $100, and some folks who arrived late and didn’t hear the story were so concerned afterwards they brought by another $50. And then her Ladies’ Circle group decided to give $200. And then the Men’s Fellowship. And another Sunday school class. And by the end of this particular adventure in networking my Mom had an extra $700 for us, which she promptly deposited in our bank account.

I’d never asked her … she didn’t know about our shortfall … it just happened. And the fact that this was the particular moment when she decided to do it, was just a little too coincidental for me to point to coincidence if you get my drift. My heart was warmed with the reminder: “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.”

All these goings on for some reason made me think of Hagar. No, no, not Sammy Hagar, the Hagar in the Bible who gave birth to Ishmael with Abraham before Sarai gave birth to Isaac. Hagar ran away because Sarai treated her harshly when she became pregnant. It was a pretty messed up situation, honestly. And, don’t worry, we ain’t having any drama like that around here.

But she runs off into the wilderness, alone and distraught, and the Angel of the Lord shows up, tells her what to do, and encourages her with a promise. Then, “she called the name of the Lord who spoke to her, You-Are-the-God-Who-Sees; for she said, ‘Have I also here seen Him who sees me?’” (Gen. 16:13)

And though Hagar’s troubles were really just beginning at that point, that encounter with God was a sign — a moment she could look back on in the days ahead. Though she was Egyptian, a maidservant, set aside, and not of ‘the chosen people of Promise,’ God demonstrated that He sees. He cares. And He shows up when we need Him the most.

Have you ever felt like Hagar? Maybe like you were forgotten or set aside, while it seemed like everyone around you was experiencing the presence and promises of God? The good news is the-God-Who-Sees can see your troubles just as well as He-Sees mine. If you love Him and you walk with Him, you can trust that He-Who-Sees-You will work things out for your own good.

The Sermon in a Nutshell: He-Sees me, He-Sees you. He knew about it before you did. And, coincidentally, I find that a very encouraging thought.