“For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are – yet without sin,”
(Hebrews 4:15 NIV 1984 edition)
Friend to Friend
Let’s face it. People let us down. They disappoint us. And so does God. Often our experiences fall short of our expectations for God to meet all our needs the way we think He should, and like a lover who has been wronged, we tend to guard our hearts against future disappointment by lowering our expectations and trust. But make no mistake about it, God sees. God understands. He is not aloof.
One day I was sitting on the patio with my friend Beth and her stepfather, Sam, waiting for the grill to heat up before placing steaks on to cook. Beth’s mom opened the door and gave Sam his orders—telling him what to do and how to do it. When she went back inside, Sam made a hand signal, pointing in one ear and out the other. We all three laughed. Then he placed his ruddy hand on Beth’s arm, a hand worn by years of working under the hood of cars of every make and model.
“She was pretty hard on you growing up, wasn’t she?” he asked.
“You have no idea,” Beth answered with a sigh.
But Sam did have an idea. He understood. And that one simple gesture let her know that he had peered into her heart and had seen the truth. The weathered, uneducated country mechanic had looked under the hood of her heart with wisdom and seen the damaged engine within. A heart, though healed by Christ, that still felt the phantom pains of a little girl who felt she was never good enough, who was constantly told what to do and how to do it—and who never did it quite right. Sam saw her heart, and for that, Beth loved him. And so did I.
How like God. He places His hand on your shoulders, looks into your eyes, and lets you know that He understands. “I see you,” He says. “I see what you are going through.” Like Hagar who experienced a sudden glory moment with God in the desert; we too can know God as El Roi, “the God who sees me,” (Genesis 16:13).
The book of Hebrews tells us that we have a High Priest, Jesus, who understands what we are going through. He “sympathizes” with our weakness (Hebrews 4:15). The word “sympathizes” comes from two Greek words, smy and pathos, meaning, “suffer with.” We are not alone in our suffering and there are glory moments to be found in the dark if we will keep our eyes open to see.
God did not write the story of your life and then sit back to watch it play out. He is in the story with you. As a matter of fact, He has the leading role. Oh, we try to butt in and take the spotlight. We try to push Him out of the way and take over the lead. But when we get to heaven and look at the playbill, we will see that God had the leading role all along, and our names were there in supporting roles as a display of His glory.
Lord, I am so thankful that I have a High Priest, Jesus, who sees me, who prays for me, and who understands exactly what I’m going through. Help me to rest in the assurance that I am not alone, but in Your capable hands.
In Jesus’ Name,
Now It’s Your Turn
Read the story of Hagar in Genesis 16.
What did she call God after He appeared to her and encouraged her?
How does it make you feel to know that God sees you?
I’ll go first: It makes me feel known.
More from the Girlfriends
If this devotion touched your heart, chances are you’ve got some hurt in your life. So let’s don’t waste our sorrows! What are you doing with the hurt? Using it for good? Picking at the scab and not letting it heal? Tough questions. If you’re ready to heal and use what you’ve gone through for good, then see my book, Your Scars are Beautiful to God: Finding Peace and Purpose in the Hurts of Your Past. It’s time to turn that pain into purpose!
And for you married gals, if apathy and indifference have crept into your marriage and you don’t know what to do about it, check out my book Lovestruck and get out of that funk!