He Gets It

He was despised and rejected by mankind, a man of suffering, and familiar with pain. Like one from whom people hide their faces he was despised, and we held him in low esteem. ~Isaiah 53:3

Have you been disappointed and hurt recently? Has someone that you trusted failed? Have you felt betrayed by one close to you? If you feel alone in your pain, it is important to know that God fully understands the mixed up turmoil of emotions that you can't fully describe. He gets the nuances, the contradictions, and even the history that made "that one jab" especially painful. 

It is unnecessary to spend your prayer time explaining every detail of your situation and emotions to God. He already gets it, and understands it better than you do. Not only is it unnecessary, but it is usually done in an effort to justify an anger, hurt, and bitterness that you know God does not want you to hold onto. You are responsible for your own reactions and emotions. You cannot control circumstances or the upsetting behavior of the people around you. Anger can be justified in many ways, but it is only righteous when felt on behalf of God. 

God's understanding of what you're feeling doesn't simply come from the facts that He created you and that He knows all things. God knows and understands what you are feeling because when He walked among us as a man, He too experienced a lot of disappointments. His ministry to His own chosen people was failing. The religious leaders of the day willfully refused to acknowledge Him. They refused to recognize Him in spite of the prophesies, in spite of the miracles that were performed before their eyes, and in spite of the fact that all the Scriptures they had dedicated their lives to study spoke of Him. Jesus did not match their preconceived expectations and they weren't destined to get past that - what a blessing that turned out to be for us gentiles and for the rest of the world. 

Jesus was also betrayed by Judas, one of his disciples, one of the twelve men closest to Jesus during His ministry. Judas conspired with the religious leaders and, because of his treachery, Jesus was arrested.  His remaining eleven disciples and numerous other followers ran and hid, fearing for their lives. Alone, Jesus faced the judgement of the people who were supposed to be most passionate about His purpose. The religious leaders, through their authority, brought Jesus before the ruling government: the Roman governor Pontius Pilate. Pilate could discover no crime that Jesus had committed and so Pilate turned to the last people standing between Jesus and execution, the crowd. 

To this point Jesus had been betrayed by a friend, condemned by the religious leaders, abandoned by His followers, failed by the government, and now He stood before the people He had come to save - those who for over three years He had taught, miraculously fed, and healed; those who had followed Him and who had, just a week before, ushered Him into their midst singing "Hosanna!" - and now they cried out "Crucify Him! Crucify Him!"

The Bible doesn't tell us how Jesus felt at this moment. Using my imagination I come up with words like hollow, sick, alone, exhausted, weak, hurt, and sad. I don't have to describe these nuances to you, the story is in the Gospels. Don't just read them, be a part of them. Throughout these events, I feel that we are invited to place ourselves in the crowd. At our core, without the intercession of the Holy Spirit, we are in the crowd, screaming for Jesus' blood, jeering and mocking His hurts, betraying our Savior. Every time we let our selfishness get in the way of forgiving others we join with the crowd. In spite of this, with unimaginable love, we are valued, called, supported, and comforted by the very one we injure with our self centered behaviors. In spite of the wounds inflicted on Jesus for our sins, we are forgiven this and every other sin from our past, present, and future.

We at times feel discouraged, disappointed, and betrayed. In spite of our best efforts, we can't help but to inflict the same types of hurts on others. This is something that can be difficult to remember as we deal with our own pain. When you are hurting, take your pain honestly to God. He wants your truth and vulnerability rather than a masquerade of stoicism or an endless stream of justifications. God is patient and understanding but, by His power and grace, He desires that we forgive from the heart, accept His healing, and move on.

Be prepared for His compassion and healing because this too is difficult. What He requires of you is to forgive so excessively and to love so generously that you knowingly and willingly open yourself to be hurt time and time again. There is no way that we can do this on our own but with God, all things are possible (Matthew 19:26). Not only do we have a God who understands and knows us, not only do we have a God who has experienced the world and the temptations and the trials we face, but we have the Holy Spirit of God living inside of us. It is He that, through our trials, our pain, and our suffering, over time, continually shapes us more into the image of Christ who suffered and endured all things for us. We are really never alone. He gets it.

And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age. ~Matthew 28:20 

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