by Christine Caine

But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look at his appearance or his stature because I have rejected him. Humans do not see what the Lord sees, for humans see what is visible, but the Lord sees the heart.” -1 Samuel 16:7 CSB

On a trip years ago, I went to get coffee right before our family boarded a flight. Nick went ahead with the girls to get them settled. When I came back to the gate, I started to pass from the terminal onto the jet bridge, when an airline employee took one look at me and said, “You’re not getting on ma’am.”

Taken aback, I asked what she meant. 

“Well, if you have time to go and get coffee, then you don’t have time to get on the plane.” 

I was shocked. It didn’t make sense. I knew that it wasn’t past the time to board. “The door is open ma’am. Please, take my boarding pass and let me board.”

She wouldn’t budge. 

“Ma’am, my husband and children are on board,” I said. “Please let me board.”

She was immovable. 

I remember feeling so helpless, so surprised, so insignificant. She expressed no empathy for me, no concern for my being separated from my family. She was looking at me, but she wasn’t seeing me.

I eventually got on the plane, but I’ve never forgotten how that woman made me feel. And yet, I’m well aware of the times that I have acted more like she did than I have acted like Jesus—when I’ve looked, but not seen. How easy it is for us to absent-mindedly look past the waiter serving us, the manicurist at the salon or the clerk at the store. How common it is for us to stare at our phones and forget to acknowledge the barista handing us our coffee? How many times have we been the one to overlook someone else?

Looking is not the same thing as seeing. The woman at the gate looked at me, but she didn’t see me. She directed her gaze at me, but she didn’t perceive or seem to fully understand my situation.

God wants us to look and see! He wants us to see other people through his perspectives—especially when it comes to seeing people who cross our paths every day. 


Heavenly Father, open the eyes of my heart so that I see people and never overlook anyone again. Help me make people around me feel seen, known, heard, dignified and valued. Use this study to show me how I can grow to see others more clearly than ever before, to see them the way you do. In Jesus’ name, amen.

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