Last November, I sat for my DANB exam, which is a fancy way of saying that I attempted to get qualified to help 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. Several of the questions were different than I had anticipated, and I did not feel good coming out of the 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.
"Lord, You just don't know. You don't understand. You have no idea how much this means to me."
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 last year that shattered us and destroyed everything I knew as my world. And because the situation was unique, I felt so lonely. 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:
I've been rejected.
Jesus was rejected.
My father turned his back on me.
Jesus’ Father turned His back on Him.
I've been lied to.
Jesus was lied to.
I've been lied about.
Jesus was lied about.
Nobody believed me.
Nobody believed Jesus.
I've been betrayed by the ones I love.
Jesus was betrayed by people He loved.
People wasted my gifts and efforts and love.
People threw away everything Jesus did.
People downplay my hurt and pain.
People laughed at Jesus' pain.
It feels like someone ripped out my heart, turned it inside out, laughed at the way it looked, left it on the ground and then left me to bleed.
Jesus was ripped to shreds, left naked, and everyone laughed, and left Him for dead.
I feel alone. I am so scared of being alone. Having to face something by myself. Being left alone.
Jesus was almost always alone.
When I saw all that together on paper, it felt like Jesus had literally reached down and hugged me. He really knew how bad 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 you wouldn't have to feel alone, either. 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."
I'm sure you've heard it a dozen times yourself, so I'll just say it one more time for you: Jesus knows. I don't care how terrible your situation is, or how oddly things may have happened for you. 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."
"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.
He knows. I promise you. He knows.