We don’t have a priest who is out of touch with our reality. He’s been through weakness and testing, experienced it all—all but the sin. So let’s walk right up to him and get what he is so ready to give. Take the mercy, accept the help.
-Hebrews 4:15 (MSG)
There’s a difference when someone thinks they can see where you’re coming from, as compared to having been there themselves. Does that make sense?
If my kid is nervous the day before school, I can say, “Yeah, I get it, but you’ll be fine.”
But that’s vastly different than me saying, “You know, I remember a time that I was scared to walk into a new place, and it was hard. Let me tell you that story.”
In the middle of fear and pain, one response feels distant. But the other makes us feel known.
Of course, it goes deeper than school butterflies. When we walk through pain and trauma, many of us have learned that there are no words that can describe the struggle. It’s only when we meet another who has experienced something similar that we can access a glimmer of peace. We don’t even need to have our issues “fixed.” There’s simply something hopeful about being understood.
And yet, even when we encounter people who experienced similar pain, fear, or heartache, there is still a limit. Every person is different, and we are complicated. So even when someone has been through similarities, they can’t truly understand at the most profound level, simply because they are not you. They are not able to see into your heart or your head. Not fully, at least.
I was having a conversation recently with a friend of mine who has been through a lot of hard moments during the past few years. He was sharing how his difficult circumstances have been leading him toward Jesus more and more. He made a simple statement that continues to bounce around in my head, about a conviction that he’s come to hold recently.
"I have a Christ who suffered, and that’s how I know he identifies with me."
So simple. So life-changing.
We are given a confidant. A friend. A Lord. A brother… who has the ability to see into the depths of our pain and struggle. But he has also experienced all the emotions we could ever imagine. And he hurt. He hurt hard. He gets it.
Maybe that’s why Jesus is called “God with us” as his nickname in the Bible.
Jesus looks at us squarely in the eyes, seeing past our walls of insecurities and our silent arguments with nobody in particular about how hard life is, or parenting, or dealing with this heartache, or that disease, or this addiction, or that uncertainty, or this responsibility. And instead of telling us to get over it, we hear a voice of gentle humility.
Do we believe this? That Jesus understands? Or have we completely stripped away the humanity of Jesus to the point where we say he was human, but what we think is “well, I mean he was mostly God so obviously he wasn’t really like us. Maybe like 60/40?"
When we embrace the extra-ordinary humanity of Jesus, that’s actually when his divine nature explodes into our lives. That’s the moment that we realize that we are truly, entirely, and impossibly… understood.
More than your parents understand you.
More than your spouse understands you.
More than your best friend understands you.
Even more than google understands your needs and wants.
When we begin to trust that Jesus understands our struggle, I mean really trust it…
Then we can let him lead us toward the way of life, however difficult that might be.
Because you’re not alone.
You are understood. And you are loved.
Jesus, meet me where I am today in a way no one else can. Lead me on from there.