“How do you know me?” Nathanael asked. Jesus answered, “I saw you while you were still under the fig tree…” John 1:48 NIV

I love “The Chosen,” the television series about the ministry of Jesus and the calling of His first disciples. Not only does it put flesh and bones on those familiar Bible characters but it gives me wonderful moments where their stories intersect my own.

Like Nathanael.

When we meet him, he is a young Jewish architect whose building collapses, taking with it his dream of building beautiful synagogues for God. Broken-hearted, in despair, he sits under the fig tree, all alone, sobbing, “Do not turn Your face from me in the day of my distress! Where are You, God? I did this for You! Do You see me?”

Silence.

So when Jesus tells Nathanael He saw him under the fig tree, it has deep significance.

“When you were at your lowest moment and you were alone,” Jesus says. “I did not turn away my face from you.”

No wonder Nathanael gasps, “You are the Son of God, the King of Israel!” He knows God saw him, after all. God had a reason…and a Plan.

Then I heard that Whisper in my heart: “Your lowest moment–remember Las Vegas?”

I should never have gone to that convention. I was sick when we got on the plane but I’d prayed and I thought I’d heard the “Go ahead” from God. It was only a cold; I’d get over it.

It wasn’t and I didn’t.

I got sicker and sicker until I ended up in the uncaring emergency room of a strange hospital far from home. After eight hours in shivering cold, I was diagnosed with pneumonia and admitted. I sent my husband back to the convention, thinking they would take care of me.

They didn’t. I was fed an uneatable dinner, ignored all evening. I crawled out, tubes dangling, to remake my own bed when no one made rounds at bedtime.

The night which followed was the longest of my life. Sleepless in snarled sheets, I cried, like Nathanael, “Why, God? I trusted You! I thought You said, ‘Go.’ Where are You?” I never felt so alone.

I got home and recovered. The hospital administrator even called me to apologize. But the experience lay festering like an unhealed scar in my heart.  And God knew it.

“Like Nathanael, you weren’t alone,” whispered the Spirit. “I want you to know you are NEVER alone, child…not then, not now. Whatever is happening and however you feel–

I am the God Who sees you.”

He saw Nathanael. He saw me. And He sees you, too.

FATHER GOD: How awesome You are. Amen.

To be published Sunday, May 23, 2021 in “Bozeman Daily Chronicle.”