Do you ever feel like God doesn’t really know what you’re going through? That He doesn’t get how hard it is to be human or that He expects too much of us?
I think this is an easy thought pattern to fall into. “My problem is something different,” we think. “Other people don’t understand, and maybe God doesn’t either. Sure Jesus was human but that was 2,000 years ago. Things have changed.”
Truth is, though, things haven’t changed that much. “There is no new thing under the sun” because human nature stays the same (Ecc. 1:9). And even if things have changed so much that being human is fundamentally different than it once was, God has still taken steps to make sure He understands us. Evidently connecting with us is very important to Him, because He’s done some pretty incredible things in order to get inside our perspectives and also to share His mind with us. Firstly, He made us. Secondly, He experienced human life by Jesus living as a human. Finally, He indwells His people today through His spirit.
If you make something you understand it. You know all the ingredients in the cookies, you know the hours put into shaping clay into an urn, you know the measurements and materials required to machine that part. God understands us even better than that, for He created all the materials we’re formed from and then fashioned us in His own image.
Like a father has compassion on his children, so Yahweh has compassion on those who fear him. For he knows how we are made. He remembers that we are dust. (Psalm 103:13-14, WEB)
Other translations use the phrase “He knows our frame” (Hebrew word yetser, meaning form, framing, or purpose). God made us and knows all about us. We are something formed by him as if we were clay in the hands of a master potter (Is. 29:16 also uses the word yetser).
However, knowing how to make a clay pot isn’t the same as knowing what it’s like to be a clay pot. He could search us and know us more intimately than anyone else (see my favorite Psalm, number 139 for an example), but God in the Old Testament hadn’t yet lived as one of us.
They say if you want to understand someone you should walk a mile in their shoes. God did much more than that when the Son came to this earth as a man. He walked 33 years in our human form.
Who, existing in the form of God, didn’t consider equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being made in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself, becoming obedient to the point of death, yes, the death of the cross. (Phil. 2:6-8, WEB)
Having created the form of man, God now inhabited it as the Word who took on the same form He created (John 1:1-4, 14). Both Father and Son were involved in creation (Eph. 3:9) and both were involved in the decision to send Jesus as the Messiah (John 5:36-37; 10:17-18). The God-family was in perfect agreement about how important it was for one of them to live and die as a human.
Since then the children have shared in flesh and blood, he also himself in the same way partook of the same, that through death he might bring to nothing him who had the power of death, that is, the devil … Therefore he was obligated in all things to be made like his brothers, that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make atonement for the sins of the people. For in that he himself has suffered being tempted, he is able to help those who are tempted. (Heb. 2:14, 17-18, WEB)
This tells us that one of Jesus’ reasons for coming to this earth was to experience human life and so know first-hand what we are going through. This is an incredible sacrifice for God to make in order to understand you! It’s mind-boggling that one of the two all-powerful beings in the universe would choose to live like one of the clay pots He made all so He could save our lives and understand how to help each of us.
What Jesus did in coming to earth, living as human, and dying for us is amazing in itself. But He doesn’t stop there. He made us, then He lived like us, and now He lives inside us.
For we don’t preach ourselves, but Christ Jesus as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake, seeing it is God who said, “Light will shine out of darkness,” who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. But we have this treasure in clay vessels, that the exceeding greatness of the power may be of God, and not from ourselves. (2 Cor. 4:5-7, WEB)
Today, God is still putting His presence in clay pots (us) through His spirit. He has said, “I will dwell in them and walk in them. I will be their God and they will be my people” (2 Cor. 6:16, WEB). This is an intimate level of knowing that goes beyond how we are made or even what it’s like to be human (John 15:4; 17:22-23). Through the indwelling of His spirit, He knows what it is like to be us in the fullest way we could ever imagine.
So if you ever feel like maybe God doesn’t understand you, remember all the ways that He knows you. He made human kind, lived as a human, and now lives in each of us. No one (including yourself) will ever understand you as well as God does. And there’s a great comfort in that, “for we don’t have a high priest who can’t be touched with the feeling of our infirmities.” Our Lord and Savior knows what it’s like to be human and has deep sympathy for all of us (Heb. 4:14-16). Beyond that, He deeply sympathizes with each individual He’s in a relationship with because we dwell in Him and He in us through His spirit.
I know how hard it is when you’re struggling with loneliness, but when we have a relationship with God we never have to feel fundamentally alone or misunderstood. He’s gone to incredible lengths to have a deep, personal relationship with us. All we have to do is recognize that He’s there.
Featured image credit: JamesDeMers via Pixabay