What does it mean when God says to us that He understands us? I used to think the whole point of Jesus coming down to earth was to die on the cross so we could be saved. However, if that was the sole point then Jesus could have come down in His adult form, rolled up His sleeves and said, “Let’s do this!”. Gone to the cross, died and came back to life and that would have been the story that was told. Of the day God came down to earth and died for us and returned to heaven.
Instead, that is not what happened. We have the story of Jesus who was born as a baby. He was in the womb for 9 months just like any other baby. He had to learn to walk, to talk, to feed Himself and other things that we have to learn. He walked among people and lived with them. He experienced life as one of us.
Several times in the Bible we are told that as Jesus did His ministry, He was moved with compassion and He helped people. One of the synonyms for the word compassion is empathy. That is the ability to see oneself in the other person and personalise their pain as though it were your own. One of the shortest Bible verses says these two words, “Jesus wept”, (see John 11:35). Jesus wept right before He raised Lazarus from the dead. Did He know Lazarus was going to come back to life? Yes. That was His plan the whole time. Did He believe He had the power to do what He was about to do? Yes, He is and was fully God. So why did Jesus weep?
There are so many different teachings on why Jesus wept. I will not get theological. I will offer an explanation that I can connect with. When we are in trouble we cry out to God, search the word for a promise and we have faith that God will show up in our situation. Does that mean we do not feel the pain and the gravity of the situation? No. We feel pain. We cry, we hurt and then we pick ourselves up and put our faith in the living God and carry on with what we need to do. We may repeat that cycle a few times but that is the human experience. Jesus did not cry because He did not have faith Lazarus would come back to life. He cried because He understood the gravity of the situation. He felt the pain of the sisters, Mary and Martha as they wept over their brother who was now rotting in the tomb.
That is why Jesus came and did a full life journey from baby to grown man. So He could understand you and I. So, He could experience the world the way we experience it. God does not see you hurting and crying over your situation and think, “She is so weak!” No. He looks at you and He sees a child who is struggling but still dares to believe that God can help. He sees in you a fighter who puts on a smile every day and prays for God to turn the situation around. He understands you.
When you react to something in a way that seems odd or unacceptable to someone, God knew you from before you were in your mother’s womb. So, God knows your thought processes. What you may do may seem illogical to someone watching, but that someone is not God because God understands you.
It may not be the right thing to do, but it does not mean He does not understand it. If it is not the right thing to do, God in His infinite love will not leave you doing the wrong thing. He will gently show you how things ought to be done and you will learn from Him. Whatever you do, do not be so critical of yourself that you shut down to learning from God. We all have plenty room for improvement. Sometimes you don’t even understand why you do certain things a certain way, but God does. Trust God to understand and to know the best way to tackle whatever it is you may be facing.
I will leave you with this verse: Hebrews 4:15 NIV, “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are–yet he did not sin”. Jesus understands us.