How do you respond when some says to you, “I feel your pain”? I know it’s comforting to hear their empathy, and they mean well. Perhaps our pain does even touch them to some extent, but no one on earth can really feel the pain we feel. What about when someone says, “I know how you feel”? That may or may not be true, depending on what they have gone through in the past. But its only if they have experienced the same thing to the same degree can they say they know how we feel. While that is nice to hear for its sympathy value, it doesn’t really lesson our pain. It is nice to know we aren’t alone, but in many ways we still are.
Then along comes Jesus who says, “I know how you feel,” and “I feel your pain.” With Jesus that is entirely true! Hebrews 4:15 says He was “tempted in every way, just as we are – yet was without sin.” He knows our pain, He sees our weakness, He understands what we are going through. Because He was a “man of sorrows and acquainted with grief,” He truly knows what we are going through.
This has enormous implications for our spiritual life. Because Christ was tempted and never gave in, we may be sure that He is never surprised by anything we say or do. We gave in too early so we never felt the full force of temptation. But Jesus let the waves of temptation rush over Him and stood like the Rock of Gibraltar. When we pray we don’t have to worry that we will somehow shock Him. He’s heard it all and seen it all. We can go ahead and be totally honest about our failures. He knows about it even before we tell him.
So when we pray, “lead us not into temptation/testing,” He understands what we are talking about. In the previous blog we saw that this means that, when trials come to strengthen and mature our faith, but Satan tries to use them to get us to sin, we are to pray for God to help us through those temptations/trials. We can pray for His help in full assurance that He not only hears us but also totally understands and really does know what we are going through for He went through it Himself. Perhaps our circumstances differed from His in some ways, but loneliness, rejection, fear, pain (physical and emotional) and many others hit Him as they hit us. In fact He was hit harder because He was more sensitive to it since He was sinless and innocent. Also Satan tried all he could to get Jesus to sin. Satan himself doesn’t even bother with us, he just lets his demons do the work.
When tempted to sin or about to bow to depression or discouragement by the stretching of your faith, ask God to be with you through it, to protect you from that which would overwhelm you, to do what is necessary to help you endure. He loves you and wants to help. He’s been there and gone through it, so He understands and knows just how to help. Pray for His help now, and allow Him to provide it in any way He determines. Pray your problem and let Him supply His own solution!