Jesus Knows, Understands, and Cares About Each of Our Stories

“What was that?”

Some of the residents here at the 55+ condo association where we live had a hard time hearing me before masks. But now it’s even worse. I know they didn’t hear me when they change the subject or answer way off base.

Then last week I went for my first Covid vaccine. Same problem of not being heard. At the registration, I had to lean in so she could hear me answer her questions.

After the shot, I had to sit among some spaced chairs for at least 15 minutes in case of reactions. As I sat there, I looked around at the eyes above the masks. Some eyes appeared sad or defeated. Have they ever shared their story or their feelings? Were they heard? Really heard? Heard in a way that they felt believed, understood, and supported? Or did they try to tell someone only to feel rejected because of insensitive remarks, changed subjects, or turned backs? Were their burdens belittled and made heavier with Christian platitudes or judgmental opinions?

Whether it’s physical, mental, or emotional pain, everyone has a need to be heard. Really heard, not just on the surface, but at a deeper level of caring about what they’re going through. A lament for their pain. A coming alongside them with empathy, compassion, and respect.

Do you sometimes not feel heard, supported, and valued?
Do you feel alone in your pain?
Do you wonder if God hears your cries?

Jesus always hears us in the deepest way. He already knows the story behind our eyes and is always ready to give us His full, undivided attention. He reaches out with compassion for the hurting. If we’re overwhelmed by pain and sinking in the storms of life, He reaches down and pulls us up and revives us with His life-giving breath. Again and again. His hand is always extended towards us and He never tires of rescuing us.

Jesus invites us to keep pouring out our hearts to Him, even though answers seem slow in coming. He listens with love, not judgment. Jesus is a Faithful Friend who ALWAYS hears us with unbounded love, compassion, empathy, and understanding. He loves us so much that He laid down His life for us. He cares so deeply about our stories that He hurts when we hurt. When others abandon us, He never, ever will. When others don’t believe us or heap guilt upon us, He knows the truth of our stories and will never condemn us.

"He who did not spare His own Son, but gave Him up for us all—
how will He not also, along with Him, graciously give us all things? 
Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen?
 It is God who justifies. Who then is the one who condemns? No one. 
Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—
is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us."
Romans 8:32-34

"Because of Your great compassion
 You did not abandon them in the wilderness.
 By day the pillar of cloud did not fail to guide them on their path, 
nor the pillar of fire by night to shine on the way they were to take."
Nehemiah 9:19

"And the God of all grace, 
who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, 
after you have suffered a little while,
 will Himself restore you and make you
 strong, firm and steadfast."
1 Peter 5:10

“He counts the stars one and all
He knows how much sand is on the shores
He sees every sparrow that falls
He made the mountains and the seas
He’s in control of everything
Of all creatures great and small

And He knows my name
Every step that I take
Every move that I make
Every tear that I cry
He knows my name…”

Discouragement and Remembering God Is on Our Side

I have been overwhelmed with discouragement at all the hatred against people who are different than we are, division even between Christians, and violence against other people and establishments. We can so easily get caught up in all the chaos and find ourselves being more judgmental than prayerful. Where is all the love and compassion Jesus gives us and desires for us to do likewise?

Are we forgetting our mission? To know Jesus and make Him known? To grow and act more like Jesus? To love like Jesus?

I forget this mission, too. My heart gets so consumed with fretting about what will further happen in the coming days and years. All those “what-ifs” clog up my mind and distort my focus.

But this morning, God used a blogging friend’s post to reorient my perspective and calm my heart:

What if God were not on my side?

“It probably won’t alter your situation, but there’s a very good chance that those eight words will calm your heart and reorient your perspective, right then and there. In these uncertain times, that can make all the difference in the world.”

Lois Flowers – How to Calm the Anxious What-ifs

“What if the LORD
had not been on our side?
Answer, O Israel!”
Psalm 124:1 (GNT) 

As that Psalm continues, we have the answer that without Him we would be swallowed up alive. My faltering heart gained strength as I remembered that God is always on our side, holding our hand when we’re afraid, girding us up with hope and giving us courage to take the next step forward, helping us to trust Him no matter what happens in the future on this earth.

The Lord is with me; 
I will not be afraid.
What can mere mortals do to me?

Psalm 118:6

With this truth in our hearts and minds, we can step forward more like Jesus would. With healing words instead of hurting words. With love instead of hate. With compassion instead of judgment.

“We can’t heal the world today.
But we can begin with
a voice of compassion,
a heart of love,
and an act of kindness.”

Mary Davis

“There’s no other name so sweet as Jesus.
No one ever cared so much for me.
As to shed His precious blood to save me
No one ever cared so much for me
When I see Him face to face up in glory
I will marvel at His nail scarred feet.
And I’ll thank Him for the pain He suffered
Because, He cared so much for me.
There’s no one who cares like Jesus
There’s no friend so precious to me
Who would carry, carry your cross to Calvary
No one ever cared so much for me
There’s no one who cares like Jesus
There’s no friend so precious to me
Who would carry, carry your cross, to Calvary
No one ever cared so much for me
No one ever cared so much for me”

Do We Say We’re Fine When We’re Not?

“I say, ‘I’m fine, yeah, I’m fine,
oh, I’m fine, hey, I’m fine’

But I’m not, I’m broken”
(“Truth Be Told” by Matthew West)

When someone asks you how you are, do you say you’re fine when you’re not? I do. It just pops out like an auto response.

Do you ever wonder why we do that?

After hearing a song by Matthew West, I’ve been trying to dig deeper within myself.

As a pastor’s son, Matthew West grew up feeling he needed to put on an outward appearance that he’s fine. Even when he felt broken inside. Even when things felt out of control.

He learned there were two lies in his life:

  1. We’re supposed to have it all together, so we should put on a smile.
  2. Everybody’s life is perfect except ours, so we should keep our messes, wounds, and secrets safe within us behind closed doors.

As I examine my own heart, I know I often hide behind a smile. Even though I’m aching inside. I’m so tired of following what was deeply rooted in me as a child from church and home that I should keep messes, wounds, and secrets buried in my heart.

Probably the biggest reason I often feel silenced is fear of being judged, rejected, and slandered again. When I told the truth about a minister who abused me, I was not believed in the church and many people heaped me with guilt and shame. When I told who I thought would be lifetime friends the truth, they rejected my truth and abandoned me. Bible verses have been taken out of context and flung at me to tell me how sinful I am.

Another big reason is that I feel my truth doesn’t matter, because I don’t matter. In the church we grew up in, children were not valued as Jesus values them. And because of some abuse at home, too, I felt like I didn’t matter and I was never good enough. God has helped me to learn this is a lie, but it still rears up at unexpected moments when I’m feeling vulnerable.

In his song, Matthew voices that some churches are lacking in welcoming and supporting the hurting. There may be signs to come as we are, but if we lived like that was true, the pews would be crowded.

Jesus wants churches to be places of refuge and safety, not places where we hide our messes and wounds out of fear of judgment and rejection. Not places where hurting people’s burdens are made heavier with shame and guilt.

“Stoop down and reach out
to those who are oppressed.
Share their burdens,
and so complete Christ’s law.”
Galatians 6:2 MSG

Not only in churches, but in various social circles, we’re often afraid to let our truth be told. What will people think? Will they judge me? Will I be hurt again?

The reality is not everyone wants to hear our messes or wounds. Not everyone will care or understand. Not everyone will believe or support us. But that doesn’t make our stories any less true or important.

It has often been my comfort over the years that there is One who already knows the deepest secrets, messes, and wounds of our hearts. He is a faithful Friend, a compassionate Savior, and a caring Supporter who will always understand. There is no failure, no fall, no sin, no deep wound that will ever turn Him away or keep Him from loving us.

“But everyone my Father has given to Me,
they will come. And all who come to Me,
I will embrace and will never turn them away.”
John 6:37 TPT

Are you feeling broken, but don’t dare to share your story? When we leave it behind closed doors, it subconsciously festers and harms ourselves and others. It may not be easy, especially when we meet with resistance and rejection, but through Christ and His strength, we can learn to take the risk anyway. And even if our stories aren’t received by all, there just may be someone who needs to hear it and will feel less alone and more understood.

Truth Be Told
by Matthew West