Son of Man
Today I thought I would share a bit from my finished but not yet published book. Enjoy!
Does God really understand?
If I could pick that one thing that God has revealed to me that completely overwhelms my heart, it would be that he truly understands me. For most of my life, I struggled with the thought that there was no way God could identify with my pain. I knew Jesus had come and lived here for thirty three years so that he could identify with our human heart. The problem I faced was that I could not identify with that part of him. I never really connected to the humanity of Christ. I always added the "ya, but you are God" to the end of any statement that related to Jesus' humanity. I think this label was one of the last to fall off my God Box. As I allowed God to work with my heart and remove the other labels I had created, I began to realize that only a God who understands could work through all my preconceived ideas and reveal things to me about myself.
Have you ever noticed that there seems to be a lack of information in the gospels about Jesus before his ministry began? We have a very detailed account of his birth and there is one story about Jesus in the temple at the age of twelve, but that is all we hear about his life before his ministry begins. Why? Could it be because those first thirty years of his life were all about being, well, just a child, a boy, a man? I find it so amazing that God chose to send his son to a man of meager means. Jesus deserved to come to this world as a king, but he did not. He chose to come into a family of simple means, humble and unnoticed. Jesus only needed three years of ministry to shake the foundation of this world, but he took thirty to just be human. I believe he spent most of his life as a quiet man in the family of Joseph because he wanted to understand the dynamics of human relationships. He lived quietly for those years, identifying with every battle we face. Family problems, lack of finances, temptation, grief, anger, betrayal, he experienced all of it. It must have taken so much strength and love to set aside his omnipotence and be like me and you. What a brilliant God we serve! What a creative plan he had for us! He did not just send Jesus to be a sacrifice. He sent Jesus to be our brother, our friend.
You may be familiar with the shortest verse in the Bible. It is in John chapter eleven, verse thirty-five and it simply says "Jesus wept". The verse is found in the middle of a story about Jesus' friend who dies unexpectedly. The man is called Lazarus and the story is wonderful because Jesus raises him from the dead! It is beautiful to me though, that Jesus allowed himself to feel the weight of grief before the miracle of life was given. He feels the sorrow for a lost relationship. He weeps with sympathy for the sisters of Lazarus whom he was also close to. His human heart is touched by the grief he sees. I have been humbled in my journey as I have begun to embrace the truth that Jesus felt the same pain I feel and yet he walked perfect and right through it all. The horror of his death, his betrayal weighs heavy on my heart now that I see him as "like me". Is there a pain deeper than betrayal? I think not. Jesus was betrayed over, and over, and over again by those he had healed, those he had taught, those he had loved selflessly. Can we even imagine the grief and loneliness he experienced hanging on a cross between two thieves being mocked and cursed by those he had known since the foundation of the world? I cannot. What about the physical pain Jesus experienced? He was tortured to death, literally. He was beaten so badly had you or I been standing there, we would have turned our face away. Jesus experienced every part of humanity and then he did something perfect and beautiful. He conquered our humanity. He did not give in to the desires of the human heart but he loved beyond what we are capable of. He looked our broken flesh in the face and said "I understand now, and I am giving you a way out".
The truth is that I am the one who does not understand. I have not seen in full what God has seen. I have not experienced in full what God has experienced. God understands more than I do. What joy I have in knowing my God understands every aspect of being human. What security I have in knowing when I cry out in grief, anger, loneliness or even physical pain, I am crying out to a God who feels the weight of my burden. Do you doubt that God understands your pain? I can tell you with confidence that he does. He understands. Trust is a hard thing but we must find the strength in our hearts to trust that God knows us better than we know ourselves. He relates to our human struggle. He chose to relate because he desires relationship with us. Cast your cares on him for he understands and he cares for you!
"My servant grew up in the Lord’s presence like a tender green shoot, like a root in dry ground There was nothing beautiful or majestic about his appearance, nothing to attract us to him. He was despised and rejected— a man of sorrows, acquainted with deepest grief. We turned our backs on him and looked the other way. He was despised, and we did not care. Yet it was our weaknesses he carried it was our sorrows that weighed him down." Isaiah 53:2-4