I was in a store, standing in line to make my purchase. Behind me I could hear the conversation of a young teen and her mother arguing about a purchase the girl wanted to make, and which her mother was refusing. The girl wailed, “Oh, Mom ~ you just don’t understand!” I almost laughed out loud. How many times, when my children were young, did I hear that same martyred cry: “Oh, Mom ~ you just don’t understand!”?
There were times when I probably didn’t understand. Teen culture is so volatile and unpredictable that the rules and nuances are changing all the time. Yet, I thought myself a mother who tried to listen; tried to be able to make careful judgments about which issues were the important ones which needed a tight ruling, and when just to watch carefully. I tried to be wise and objective and know when to be flexible and when to stand firm. I may not always have been right. Eventually, in spite of any mistakes I may have made, my children grew up to be caring, productive people and that part of my job was done.
I wish it was as easy to be able to have wisdom for myself as it was to have wisdom for my children. Adults must figure out their own issues, and grown up issues are harder than whether or not to follow the latest fad. Sometimes we may be in emotional pain, and it seems as if no one around us sees it or understands; sometimes we aren’t really sure ourselves of the root cause of our own pain. Illness or accidents or disasters of one kind or another happen, and we feel frightened because this has never happened to us before and we aren’t sure how to handle it. There is no one who seems to understand our feeling of panic and fear. We tell ourselves that we are big girls now and that we can do it ~ but our stomachs are in knots and we can’t sleep at night. We know that somehow we must come to a conclusion and we are overwhelmed.
We may find we are frustrated by the small irritations of life and need to vent… because that’s what women do. We need to talk things out. Our husbands may not be sensitive, or (although well intentioned) just baffled as to why we are upset. Men are often uncomfortable talking about feelings. Our friends are busy with their own problems, and we hesitate to burden them further. We feel isolated and alone. Our children are small and unable to help, or they are grown and are busy with their own families and jobs. We feel in need of a close, intimate friend with whom to talk. We need someone who will truly understand us. It is then we need to remember our true Best Friend Forever. Although we should have remembered Him first, I am afraid that most of us usually go to Him as a last resort.
He is the One Who has told us, “Come unto me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11: 28-30)
Rest for our souls ~ how hard it is to find sometimes. Yet, He has promised, and He will make good His promise. One of the things I rest in, trust in with all my heart, is the fact that the Lord knows everything about what it is to be human. First, He was part of the creation process, so He knows the things that have gone into our makeup as human beings. Psalm 103 tell us, “As a Father pities His children, so the Lord pities those who fear Him. For He knows our frame; He remembers that we are dust.” (vs. 13-14 NKJV)
Second, He became man, and Hebrews 4:15 tells us that tells us that “For we do not have a High Priest Who cannot sympathize with our weakness, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin.” He didn’t float above the earth like a remote observer Who was untouched by His surroundings. He experienced both the difficulties and the joys of being human. He was despised and rejected; He was isolated and dealt with people who had no idea who He was, trying to teach people who had spiritually deaf ears. His behavior always demonstrated His obedience to the Father. Yes, He was God ~ but He was also fully human ~ a complete man. He wept. He rejoiced with His friends at weddings. He became tired and took Himself apart for rest and prayer. He must have been approachable because little children followed Him around. There is nothing which can trouble us that He doesn’t understand.
He is always available to us. Now when we need Him, He may come to us as the good shepherd: the vigilant caretaker Who provides green pastures where we may rest, and cool waters to refresh our parched spirits, and a table spread abundantly. He may come to us as the Light of the World, Who gives us wisdom in times when we are struggling to know what to do. Because Christ has made the Father accessible, we may go to the Father and call Him Abba ~ Daddy or Papa ~ the loving Father Who protectively keeps us secure in His arms.
Over and over we are given examples of how much God loves us, how much He wants our spiritual success, how He provides inner peace because of our trust in Him. Even when He is allowing trials in our lives, we can be assured that His ultimate intended end result is for our good, no matter what the circumstances may seem to tell us. He wants us to succeed. He wants us to grow and to learn of Him.
The problem is, we don’t let Him help. We bottle up all our feelings and let them makes us anxious and fearful, and forget that He has asked us to tell Him everything in our hearts. He already knows ~ but He wants us to trust Him enough to tell Him. In voicing our specific fears to God, we often learn more about what is really troubling us. When we try to handle situations in our own strength and in our own wisdom, we drain ourselves of all our inner resources. Instead, we should be letting Him share the load, help us through, carry us over the rocky places. Over and over we act as if He is not really a part of our lives. We give lip service to His keeping power, but instead of pouring out every pain and hurt, all our frustration and sadness and fear, we forget to go to Him. Do we think He will reject us for not having it all under control ~ for not being perfect? That is not consistent with His nature. He has told us again and again, “Come unto Me!”, “Be not afraid!”
It is amazing what happens when we remember to do this. We may end up in tears as we let the hurt out to the most understanding and sympathetic ear in our entire universe… but in letting it out, we receive the peace of God to fill up the vacuum where our hurt once was. We may not receive the answer to our dilemma like a sudden bolt of lightning, but once we let go of our anxiety in trust, we are able to make decisions. We know that even if we mistake our options, God is able to bring good from every situation.(Romans 8:28) He may not always make it all better so that we never experience trouble ~ but even our disasters are able to teach us something and take us forward toward wisdom.
I need so much to remember this ~ to remember that God loves me, that He invites me to a relationship of intimacy and caring… and that He will completely understand everything I tell Him. I am incredibly blessed to have a Savior to Whom I never can say, “You just don’t understand.”