Have you ever shared a struggle with someone who didn’t understand? They are quick with a fix, but their advice feels more like a slap in the face. Not wanting a slap, we keep our mouth shut. Because Jesus clothed himself in our humanity he can give us what we want most. All of us deep down want someone who understands.
I once read the book Good to Great by Jim Collins and learned a lot about setting what he called BHAG’s, or big, hairy, audacious goals. It is good to write down your BHAG’s and shoot for the stars. But, I know all of us inside have BHAF’s – big, hairy, audacious fears, failures, and feelings. These are struggles we never want discovered because if that happened everyone would think we’re crazy. To protect ourselves from rejection and ridicule we cover are darkest secrets under a blanket of shame.
This morning I discovered my car had a flat tire. I didn’t want my neighbors to see me bent over fixing a flat. I pulled out my wife’s car from the garage, pulled mine in and closed the door. My wife volunteered to post a request on our neighborhood Facebook page to see if anyone had an electric pump. I refused and used our bicycle pump instead. After breaking a major sweat in my work clothes I was finally ready to open the door. No one was supposed to know until I decided to blog about it. Here’s the problem. The longer our fears, failures, and feelings stay hidden the more hideous they become and the more we condemn ourselves for not having conquered these long ago.
Hebrews 4:15 says, “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 knows our pain, speaks our language, is on the same wavelength and is in tune with our condition. He walked in our shoes and was tempted in every way just as we are. The old King James version says, “He is touched with the feelings of our infirmities.”
When a friend, or therapist isn’t around, when the life group isn’t there yet, we can always tell Jesus our high priest. No pointing fingers, or glares of rejection. He gets it. Hebrews 4:16 says, “Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” No one can help us like Jesus. He loves us too much to let us languish in our time of need.
Grace is underserved, unearned favor. Mercy is compassion and forgiveness from another who has the power to punish or harm us. That’s what you beg a professor for when your research paper is late. It’s what you plead for when the police officer is about to write you a ticket for speeding. God knows our frame and remembers we are dust. Jesus has access to an unlimited supply of grace and mercy for every need we face if we will come to him.
I must tell Jesus all of my trials;
I cannot bear these burdens alone;
In my distress He kindly will help me;
He ever loves and cares for His own.
I must tell Jesus all of my troubles;
He is a kind, compassionate Friend;
If I but ask Him, He will deliver,
And in my griefs with me He will blend.
Tempted and tried I need a great Savior,
One who can help my burdens to bear;
I must tell Jesus, I must tell Jesus;
He all my cares and sorrows will share.
(From the hymn I Must Tell Jesus by Elisha Hoffman)