He Understands (and we can trust him!)

About 15 years ago I recall sharing my faith with one of my closest friends, a man whose past was filled with deep pain and hurt, especially when it came to the church and religion (the Catholic church rejected his family when his mom divorced after his dad left, and then the Lutheran church they joined shunned them because they were poor). When I talked about the things I was learning from God, he was incredulous and offended; why in the world would God care about the details of my life, or the life of anyone else for that matter? The thought that God might relate to me - or anyone else - on a personal level was to my friend utterly absurd.

Years later when my journey through chronic pain began - and then dragged on with no end in sight - I began to harbor some of the same feelings and doubts. The level of suffering I experienced on a daily basis at times defied description, and my prayers (along with those of countless others) for healing - and often just relief - seemed to go unanswered and in my mind unnoticed. Maybe my friend had been right…

I’m in a better place today (so much better!), but this is one area where I probably still struggle the most - believing that a) God understands and b) it makes a difference in my life. I was a big Star Wars fan as a kid, and like Yoda said in “The Empire Strikes Back” I think I need to “unlearn what I have learned.” There is still much for Christ to do in my life (and that’s a good thing!).

Max Lucado has a great word of encouragement for this Monday morning about our God who understands. Max starts his devotional by sharing a number of very human emotions Jesus felt while here on earth - hunger, weariness, anger, sadness… These are all things we have felt often (my stomach is growling at this very moment!), so Max asks this question, “Why did he endure all these feelings?

The answer? “Because he knew you’d feel them too. He knew you’d be weary, disturbed, and angry. He knew you’d be sleepy, grief-stricken, and hungry. He knew you’d face pain. If not the pain of the body, the pain of the soul—pain too sharp for any drug. He knew you’d face thirst. If not a thirst for water, at least a thirst for truth, and the truth we glean from the image of a thirsty Christ is—he understands. And because he understands, we can come to him!”

Because he understands, we can come to him. I need to be reminded of that often; I’m not on this journey alone, and I can bring my heart to Jesus and not have to worry about “getting it right” - because the Word tells us when we don’t know how to pray, the Spirit intercedes for us! If the gloomy weather on this Monday is getting you down, let this truth bring some light - Jesus understands!