Recently, a new friend was telling me about her 30-year career cleaning houses. It wasn’t a job she grew up wanting to do. As a single mom, she kind of fell into it as a way to support her daughter.

At least that’s how she thought of her job until about five years ago. At that time, she was really struggling to know why this was the life the Lord had for her. She was bending down in a corner of someone else’s bathroom cleaning up cat hair and suddenly it dawned on her. God could see her even in the corner. He knew where she was, and what she was doing. And in fact, he was there with her, guiding her and comforting her. Being in that corner was God’s calling for her life.

I have thought of this story every day since I heard it, especially yesterday as I was working on a Bible study of the Sermon on the Mount. We are just beginning to study what I now think of as the “secret passages,” where Jesus tells us we are supposed to pray and give and fast in secret. In the text of the Bible study book, the author brings up Hagar, after Sarai kicked her out of the house. The Lord came to Hagar when she thought know one knew where she was, and after that, she referred to Yahweh as “El Roi,” the God who sees.

It’s hard to be in the corner, believing we are all alone. Either we get discouraged and disallusioned, wondering why we ended up here in the corner. Or we get defensive and deceptive, feeling more like we are “being cornered” or “being sent to the corner” than just “being in the corner.” And in both cases, oh how good it is that God sees us.

Knowing God sees us in the corner, we understand that he has a good purpose for having us there. And he wants us to respond with holiness and integrity, even in the corner. And just like my friend, it’s actually God’s call in our lives that often lands us in the corner.

Ever felt like you were in a corner? Ever realized that God sees you while you’re there?

“[Hagar] 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