Ever have one of those flustered days, weeks, months, years, or even what seems to be a life time of harried moments strung together by frayed nerves? Maybe it’s just me, but when I get in a tizzy, it often feels like no one “gets” why. Sometimes it’s unreasonable to expect people to be sensitive because they have no idea about my vexations. Still, I often find myself getting all worked up as to how insensitive inhabitants of the world are when they approach me with any sort of task, concern, or triviality during these tailspins. I mean, seriously. I’ve had people who DID know quite a bit of what I may or may not have been going through that still just didn’t seem to use their brains when asking me to do something that was a bit much at the time all things considered or even made small talk with the ever popular, “So, how are you doing?” Literally, days after my dad died I had people asking this question. Wow. That’s a real head scratcher, there. How do you THINK I’m doing? Then there’s been the whole season of my husband working full time plus going to grad school full time crammed to the brim with people who can’t seem to figure out why we don’t have much spare time (or money) for socializing thus much of our free breaths are used to explain why we can’t do such and such. Oh, and let’s not forget the year that held the curse of Black Beauty (our Ford Fusion) where no journey (even to work) has been simple and Paul (the mechanic down the street) as well as the good folks at AAMCO in West Virginia, North Carolina, AND Virginia have all become some of our bosom buddies and that no one seems to get what an ordeal it is to simply drive our car. And those are just the surface issues. There’s so much more that goes on beneath the crust of our lives to which the world has yet to be illuminated. Am I the only one who finds myself feeling this frustrated? Am I? Can you relate? Ever? Always? In the words of Louis Armstrong, “Nobody knows the trouble I’ve seen…nobody knows but Jesus.” Yeah, people just don’t get it. But Jesus does.
When someone gives you flack for something or looks at you as if there’s no possible reason why you should be struggling to survive, do you ever just want to sit them down and give them a thorough education on how hard your life is? I do. Life is hard. It really is. To those the people you brush elbows with daily who seem to roll their eyes in regret after asking how you are, do you ever just want to enlighten them that perhaps your life is harried not by your own choice but because of circumstances beyond your control, some that have even birthed a ripple of other incidents, so that perhaps they’ll lighten up and show some mercy on your life? I do.
I don’t think I’m alone in that.
In fact, I have had to remind myself of that since birth, because I’ve had to train my mind to recognize that I am not the center of the universe.
I am not the only one going through hard things. Others have gone through far more difficult things than I. Still others have endured far less than I have.
But I can expect nobody to know the troubles I’ve seen but Jesus.
I can’t even expect that from myself because I’m forgetful. You can’t either. Scars and wounds from the pains through which we’ve journeyed remain and there are still defining moments which are vividly memorable. But as a lifetime continues to move forward while transforming occurrences of pain to markers of distance, many of the actual events that caused the hurt fade. A metamorphosis occurs as we remember the listening ear of our Heavenly Father during cries of desperation and how He moved. That has to do with casting all our cares upon Him because He cares for us. When we do that, the roots of fellowship dig deeper than scars of our past.
There have been so many times when I’ve had plenty to say to my Heavenly Father. But there have been an abundance more where my soul cries out, “You know, God, you know,” because I didn’t even know where to begin. I so appreciate that He included this passage in His word, because it reminds me that He really gets me, “In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God” (Romans 8:26-27 NIV).
He gets it, unlike all the people we have the urge to explain ourselves away to. There is no way to fully communicate the intricacies of our struggles, triumphs, and voices to anyone less than God, who expresses Himself through the trinity. No one could ever begin to understand the issues of the mind, body, and soul like the one who birthed those who house them. To keep each one of us from solitarily carrying the strife of life, the Father of the Universe sent the second person of the trinity to put on flesh in order to truly empathize with everything we must endure in these tents called bodies which temporarily encase our minds and souls AND to provide an immaculate way of victory to conquer these battles of the flesh and soul. Furthermore, He left His spirit to not just dwell among us, but inside of those who would receive Him.
Immanuel is so much more than just a word we toss about at Christmas time. Advent means, “a coming into place, view, or being; arrival.” Immanuel is who and what the world was always waiting for: for someone to come…to dwell…for God to not only be with us, but in us. Immanuel is here. He is who you have been waiting for. He’s the only one who will ever “get” what you’re going through because He’s the only other person beside yourself who can abide in you. When you go through something, you don’t have to experience it alone. You don’t have to be lonely. And you don’t have to explain it because you can fellowship with someone who truly already gets it.
Ann Voskamp put it so beautifully in her video on the candle of hope in the advent wreath, “Instead of explaining our sorrows, God shares them because He knows mere answers are cold and His arms are warm.” Isn’t that comforting? No energy has to be expended to communicate the wordless grunts of our hearts because He already dwells there. He completes us. He makes us whole, which means He is a part of us and experiences what we do.
Think back on all the times you’ve been able to just sit with someone you had endured a crisis with and not have to say a word because they comprehended and encountered it too. Now magnify that to infinity and beyond. That’s Immanuel. He wants more than to be beside you. He wants to be inside you.
Dear one, you don’t ever have to explain it away to Him. He already knows. But if you happen to want to talk. He’ll listen.
You don’t have to bear those sufferings alone. They can become beautiful because they can be fellowshipped over with Immanuel.
The advent of fellowship has been fulfilled.
God has come.
He is with us.
He desires to be in us.
Is He welcome?
Oh come, oh come Immanuel.
Come into our flustered, solitary, misunderstood, tizzy, frenzy- filled lives. Don’t leave us alone. We desire fellowship in our sufferings.
People don’t get it, but Immanuel does.
“All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel (which means ‘God with us’).” Matthew 1:22-23 NIV