This guest post was written by Heidi Reinecke.
My eyes came blinking open. The room filled with an obnoxious beeping, and it sounded like it was right under my pillow. To my half-awake mind, the thoughts of waiting-to-explode bombs, telephone receivers
from Mars, and all sort of other things threw me into a panic for a moment. Reality wasn’t long in hitting.
Oh…alarm clock. Right.
I sat in bed after a shower, and with worship a few minutes away, I pulled out my phone to continue reading in the Desire of Ages. For the last couple of days, I’d been nearly positive that I’d been reading stuff that I’d already read before and forgotten about. This morning I was practically convinced. In fact, I’d almost skipped through to where I’d originally left off, but something inside me whispered, “Just read it. It won’t do any harm to read something twice.”
Well, He had a point there. So I read.
The subject was Jesus and His brothers. How they had showed up at a place where He was staying, Mary in tow, to try and convince the Savior of the world to stop saving us. Really, that’s the basic, boiled-down version of what they thought they wanted. Kinda startling, isn’t it?
And in Jesus’ unassuming, uncondemning, but insightful way, He had stretched out His arms to His disciples and said, “Behold, My mother and brethren!” He was claiming kinship with us—claiming to be our Brother. He claimed humanity as His own.
But as amazing as that is, it wasn’t what took me by surprise. That came a paragraph later.
I think what I read next jolted any sleepiness out of my brain. I had to read it twice, and then I had to sit back and really think about it. This is what Ellen White says….
“With their short measuring line they could not fathom the mission which He came to fulfill, and therefore could not sympathize with Him in His trials. Their coarse, unappreciative words showed that they had no true perception of His character, and did not discern that the divine blended with the human. They often saw Him full of grief; but instead of comforting Him, their spirit and words only wounded His heart. His sensitive nature was tortured, His motives were misunderstood, His work was uncomprehended.
His brothers often brought forward the philosophy of the Pharisees, which was threadbare and hoary with age, and presumed to think that they could teach Him who understood all truth, and comprehended all mysteries. They freely condemned that which they could not understand. Their reproaches probed Him to the quick, and His soul was wearied and distressed. They avowed faith in God, and thought they were vindicating God, when God was with them in the flesh, and they knew Him not.
These things made His path a thorny one to travel. So pained was Christ by the misapprehension in His own home that it was a relief to Him to go where it did not exist. There was one home that He loved to visit,--the home of Lazarus, and Mary, and Martha; for in the atmosphere of faith and love His spirit had rest. Yet there were none on earth who could comprehend His divine mission, or know the burden which He bore in behalf of humanity. Often He could find relief only in being alone, and communing with His heavenly Father” –DA 326
In bold is the sentence that leaped out at me.
Christ—Jesus Christ, our perfect Example, our Redeemer, Brother, and Best Friend—couldn’t bear to be at home. It hurt too much. He took every opportunity to be somewhere else.
Why is that so significant?
Because I’ve been there.
I grew up in a home where, as Ellen White says, the “shadows were never lifted”. From about the time I was 7 til I was 15, my home was the last place on Earth I wanted to be. In fact, I hated being at home.
Too strong a word?
Those who have been in unhappy homes know that that isn’t too strong of a word. I hated being at home—I much preferred going to school; a school full of bad influences, unholy behaviors, and worldly friends. Anything to be away from home.
I used to scheme with my little friends about sleepovers. You know; little girls do that. A friend and I would make some great plan, and I’d broach the subject to my mom. I remember, that all too often, when the plea was put down with a firm but gentle, “No, not tonight,” I often ended up in tears, although only once I was out of sight of my mom.
Why? My avenue of escape from the home I hated being in was shut, and I had to endure home for another night.
But really, it wasn’t so much the realization that I could identify with Jesus that hit me…it was that He could identify with me. And not just about that one thing. About EVERYTHING.
I knew that of course. Paul says that He was in all points tempted like us. In other words, He knows—He’s been there.
But to see it written out like that…was something else.
Jesus knows what I’m going through. He really knows. Not just because He’s seen it happen so many times and He knows everything. He knows because He’s felt it—He understands because He’s been there.
I only have a few weeks left in America, and about a week left in the place I’ve called home for the last year. It’s scary to think about. I’m scared to death of going overseas and afraid of making a mistake—but He’s been there. He knows what it’s like to battle fear. After all, He was afraid of the cross. His humanity shrank from it. He begged for another way. All throughout His life, I’m nearly positive that the devil tempted Him to fear making a mistake and messing up the whole plan of salvation. Everything hung suspended on Jesus. He knows. He understands.
Personally, I know when I’m in need of a friend—someone who will listen, pray for me, and stand with me through my trial—it’s always more comforting to have someone standing beside you who knows what you’re going through.
People who haven’t gone through the same thing can be wonderful encouragements. But if they don’t understand, they can only do so much. Those who do get it, who have been there, can look you in the eyes and say, “I understand. I really do.” And you know they mean it.
Jesus understands. He gets it. Because He’s been there. This morning He looked me in the eyes, put a hand on my shoulder, and told me softly, “I understand. I really do. I’ve been there before.”
And it’s not just for me, either.
He gets it for you too.
Because He’s been there.
Never say “I’ve already read it. There’s no need to do it again.”
When it comes to God’s word and the words of those He commissioned to speak to us, there’s no such thing as “too much.”