Monday, January 9, 2012


I go to church in another town.

It's about a 20-minute drive.

It's OK – I like my church. It's where my sons go, and it's nice to worship with them there. The pastor teaches me a lot. I feel at home there.

And the drive is really rather pleasant.

Yes, part of the way involves the 405 freeway – (trust me, if you live in Southern California, you know what I'm talking about. If you don't – well, picture a NASCAR race, add a thousand more cars, and then consider yourself lucky that you don't live near the 405…)

But part of the way I drive by some wide, open spaces. Yes, there are some open spaces in Southern California OK, maybe not WIDE open – but fields and hills.

And just about every single Sunday I see the most wonderful sight.

On the top of a random streetlight, I see a huge hawk.

Some Sundays I see more than one – like yesterday, I saw one going to church, and one coming home.

First of all, these hawks have got to be pretty big. Because they look big to me, even though they're probably about 30 feet up in the air. The one word that comes to my mind is majestic.

And they don't say that someone has "eyes like a hawk" for nothing. Those hawks are perfectly still, perfectly focused on the ground – always watching, always on alert – nothing escapes their single-minded concentration.

So yes, yesterday morning I saw a hawk.

And I thought about God.

It's almost like He's the hawk He sees me, faithfully driving to church.

It hasn’t always been like this. Though I've been a believer for many (many) years, and have attended church for most of my life, there was a period of time when I didn't go. A very long period of time I'm ashamed to admit that, a bit sad to admit that. I didn't realize how much more difficult life was without fellowship and teaching.

But, God grabbed hold of me a few years ago, and He hasn't let go. And part of my faithful return to His side involved regularly attending church again.

So I looked at that hawk – and saw God.


The One who is perfectly still and immovable in my life, perfectly focused on every detail and every moment of it. He is always watching, always on alert. Nothing escapes His single-minded concentration on me.

Is that awesome or what?!

I am reminded of one of my favorite names for God – EL ROI.

It's the name that Hagar used for God.

Hagar had a rather…ahem…"complicated" relationship with her mistress, Sarai (Sarah). At one point she ended up running away. She found herself pregnant, alone, scared. But God found her – and He said some remarkable things to her:

"…where have you come from, and where are you going?"

He knew – but He wanted Hagar to know that He knew…

"…the LORD has heard your cries."

What blessed comfort.

"Thereafter, Hagar used another name to refer to the LORD, who had spoken to her. She said, 'You are the God who sees me.'"

El Roi.

Hagar's wilderness experience brought her face-to-face with God. It taught her that "I AM" is the living God who SEES our plight and HEARS our cries. He is a personal God who cares for those who trust Him.

I am encouraged by this meeting. It helps me remember that even in the most painful trials, I may also have the most intimate and close encounters with God.

He loves me.

I am reminded of that unchangeable fact almost every Sunday when I see those hawks.

You know, yesterday morning on my drive to church, I looked up at that hawk. And I saw God – seeing me. I smiled and said to myself, "I'm on my way to Your house, Lord."

And He said, "I know."

I think the hawk saluted me with his wing.

And then, as an added bonus, on my way home I saw yet another hawk, soaring over the hills. A tear came to my eye as I felt in my heart the presence of El Roithe One who soars over my life, watching my every step…

The One who sees…


What does the name "El Roi" mean to you?

Today I am linked with Joan - SHARING HIS BEAUTY with joy!

BLOG = "Blessedly Leaning On God!"


  1. Awesome - he sees my plight hears my cries and answers me in unforeseen ways. He watches over me, rebukes me, but always re assures me of His Love and my Salvation

  2. What a beautiful image! And it's such an incredible comfort to know in the depths of your soul that GOD is there with you, right by your side, overshadowing and protecting you in the difficult times.

    Yes! It's in those times, when every other good thing seems to have been scraped away, that His voice sounds the sweetest, that His presence means the most, and that His light shines the brightest!


  3. Sharon, I too have drive to another city to attend church and like you there was a period of time that I was absent from any church service. But God lovingly drew me make to the fellowship of other believers. I have never thought of God as a hawk but I love the analogy. He never looses sight of me no matter how many others He's keeping watch of. Now that is amazing just to think about.

  4. God is always with us Sharon - like the wind we don't always see it, but it is there. sandie

  5. A 20 minute drive is not bad when you consider the worth of worshiping together with your sons and at a church where the minister teaches the word so well. I met you at The Beauty of His Grip.

  6. I had forgotten Sharon that you were going to write about hawks today (blame those senior moments, LOL). I was going through my Dashboard and I'm glad God directed me to click onto your entry. I absolutely loved your story about the hawk and equating it to El Roi! I know of those hawks you talk about, they are majestic just watching from their perches along the freeway and I know of their might when they fly or glide through the sky. God is absolutely amazing with how he directs his creation and how he watches over each and every one of it!

    I think it is awesome that your sons are active church members (and serve at church too) and that you make the effort to worship where they worship! I do know 405 safe out there!!

    Absolutely loved this one, a definite favorite of mine!!!!!!!!!


  7. It is such a comfort to know that God sees us and knows everything about us. We are never alone! I am so glad that He is the God who sees me -- EL ROI!

  8. This is beautiful, Sharon. Like you, I walked away from God for a while, but He also grabbed hold of me and won't let go.

    I love the analogy of the hawks - I'll remember that the next time I see one.

    Many blessings,

    PS - I like the new blog look!

  9. El Roi. The God who sees me. I love that name for Him as well.

    The girls used to sing a song in youth choir called "There you are watching over me". I kept thinking that when I first read this.

    I love image you drew in my mind of a hawk-eyed God.

  10. And I just read your daily prayer. I love that.

  11. And now I will think of you and this post when I see a hawk along the highway...and I see them all the time. Another reminder of God's protection and love for me. This was a gift...thank you and your blog looks beautiful too.

  12. Blessings Sharon,

    Beautiful... a hawk is like an eagle as it sits perched and I could just envision this 405 drive... and I love the analogies that you drew. And I'd love to write about what "El Roi" means to me but you have written this so much better... Yeah I thought so... El Roi watching over me!

    Church attendance... prodigals... hmmm
    Pondering and reflecting the hawks along the Pacific drive... you know that means "peace" right?... ok, just trying to encourage you as you trek along 405...

    I drive about 20 miles back home to my church, although there are many good ones in my hometown, much closer... but they are my family, although in all these years away, they have changed much and I don't know many of the new... with gas changes I may have to change, but back in MN, I too enjoy the travel time and views along the way... here, I love the coastline drive to church (5 minutes driving or 45 minutes on bus)... but once again there are more closer... and even online churches are closer yet! I know that there were many times when I was in more than one church... but not with no church... even when I was a prodigal stray... what hypocrisy is that? (hanging my head)...

    Love your honest vulnerability! Thanks for sharing your hawk and trip to and fro... church. Your words always paint so vividly and beautifully... Like your new 365 Pocket prayers and the one today is great!!!

    "Call of God"... hmmmmmmmmm, good one!
    But know that you are part of something bigger whether you go out or reach from the pages of your finger tips... God calls us right where we are. Going to click and check that definition widget out... see ya' around... sweet sis!

    (((hugs))) and salute... from the hawk or El Roi... He knows and sees!


"So [I] have been greatly encouraged in the midst of [my] troubles and suffering, dear brothers and sisters, because you have remained strong in your faith. It gives [me] new life to know that you are standing firm in the Lord. How [I] thank God for you!" (1 Thessalonians 3:7-9)

Thanks for your comments - it is such a joy to be sharing my journey with friends like YOU!

(NOTE: Anonymous comments will be removed. Thank you for understanding.)