Several weeks ago, I was talking to my dad about some hard things I was dealing with. Mostly just the aches and pains and disheartenment of reaching middle age and not being quite where you wanted to be. As I listed my complaints, his response was simply, “I know.” Not, “I know,” as in, “I’m aware of what you’re going through,” but, “I know – I’ve been there. I feel it.” Just two words, but they powerfully conveyed sympathy, understanding, and fellowship in a way that maybe nothing else could.
“For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” (Hebrews 4:15)
God says the same thing to us. We struggle. We hurt. We try to live up to his standards and fail even to reach our own. We get frustrated, discouraged, and bitter. We feel like the burden of life is unbearable sometimes and the hope of eternity seems out of reach. And the Lord just says, “I know.”
After talking to my dad, I had no questions about whether he understood what I was going through. I didn’t feel judged or rejected by him for my confessions of weakness. I felt better.
Sometimes we think we’ve got to be someone special in some way before we can confidently approach God. He says the opposite. He says, “Come when you need mercy. When you need grace. You’ll find it.” I’ve never needed mercy or grace when I was doing well. It’s when we are low and flailing that he says, “I know. I’ll help.”