A few years ago, on an average November day, I sat for my DANB exam. That’s a fancy way of saying that I attempted to get qualified to assist a dentist with your root canal. It’s a long, hard test, and I had never done anything like it. Furthermore, I had basically no one to go to for help. I was the only dental assistant I knew, and all my classmates were too far away to meet for study groups. I was scared, and I was nervous, but I used my study helps and practice tests to the max. I also prayed.
See, I believe that God wanted me to pursue dental assisting. And I went through school trying to honor His will by working hard and getting my best grades. The DANB was the next to the last step, and I was smart enough to realize I wouldn’t pass on my own. In my prayer time that morning, I prayed a deeply profound prayer that went like this: “Well, God, here we are. I’ve done everything I can to prepare, so it’s all on You now. If this is really what You want me to do, You are gonna have to help me.” And once I started the test, I prayed basically the entire time. Unfortunately, several of the questions were different than I had anticipated, and I did not feel good coming out of that test. When I finished, the proctor handed me my unofficial results. As soon as I got to my car, I looked at the three papers, and I bawled for about 5 minutes.
I had passed. All 3 parts.
So before I started calling people, I took a minute to pray and thank God. Which is when I made one of the less intelligent statements of my life.
The minute the words came out, I laughed, and I felt a little ashamed. Because seriously? He’s God Almighty. Of course He knows how I feel! I just got ahead of myself trying to express how relieved and overjoyed I was.
But…have you ever really thought about it? We know the Father sees and knows everything, but sometimes, when life gets really dark and lonely, it’s easy to feel like He’s a tad disconnected from us human beings and our human lives.
And that’s where Jesus comes in. Because Jesus was 100% man, He knows exactly what we go through from day to day. Even though He was 100% God, I’m pretty sure He dreaded Mondays, had to bite His tongue over a snarky comment, and maybe even fought depression.
But sometimes we think that because Jesus didn’t experience the exact same situations we have, we feel like He can’t truly relate to our feelings. Or maybe that’s just me.
My family went through a horrific experience a few years ago that shattered me and destroyed everything I knew as my world. And because the situation was unique, I felt so terribly alone. My friends were so wonderfully caring, but it isn’t the same when you know no one else who’s been in your shoes. So for many months, I felt isolated inside. I felt like a experimental freak for having feelings that nobody else could relate to. And honestly, I started to look at Jesus the same way. I knew He loved me and I knew He was by my side every minute. But Jesus wasn’t a girl. Jesus’ Father hadn’t done what my father had done. I felt Jesus, but I didn’t feel like Jesus felt me.
Until the day He made things clear to me. I don’t remember the service or the sermon, but I remember where I was praying, and I remember the “light bulb from God” moment. There was no audible voice, but I suddenly realized that there really were similarities between mine and Jesus’ trials. So I wrote them down:
When I saw all that together on paper, it felt like Jesus had literally reached down and hugged me. He really did know how badly I was hurting. He truly sympathized with me. He felt me. Jesus suffered heartache and betrayal thousands of years before I was even born, so that I wouldn’t have to feel alone–and neither would you. I don’t remember where I found this quote, but I love it:
“Christ leads us through no darker rooms than He has walked before.”Richard Baxter
It doesn’t matter how terrible your situation is, or how unique your pain is: Jesus knows.
I know sometimes it’s hard to believe, when you’re in the darkest midnight of your problem, or when it feels like your test has gone on for an eternity. But I promise you, and God promised you, too, that He would not let you go through life’s battles without giving you His strength to survive. Hebrews explains it better than I can.
“Therefore, in all things He [Jesus] had to be made like His brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. For in that He Himself has suffered, being tempted, He is able to aid those who are tempted.”Hebrews 2:17,18
“He is able to aid those who are tempted.” Jesus will help you when you are tested. Because He was made to be like us, His brethren, He can hold us and comfort us when we’re frustrated, or overwhelmed, or completely broken down.
I promise you.