He’s Been Through It All

This is a guest post written by Elyse Fitzpatrick


“We don’t have a priest who is out of touch with our reality. He’s been through weakness and testing, experienced it all—all but the sin. So let’s walk right up to him and get what he is so ready to give. Take the mercy, accept the help.”

(Hebrews 4:15-16, The Message)

I know what it’s like to be a mom. When I was 17 (and still in high school), I got pregnant. Right after graduation, I was married, and then about a year later I was divorced. I know what it’s like to be a single mom with a little one to care for; to struggle to balance work and college and mothering and the laundry and…and….

Then, right about the time I turned 21, the Lord graciously saved me. After a few years in church, I married Phil (my husband to this day), who became dad to my little guy. Soon, we had two kids of our own: Three kids, one husband, two dogs…and chickens (at least for a while). As I look back on those days, I’ll admit that there were plenty of times when I felt completely overwhelmed and alone. Of course, I wasn’t alone…and in a way that was part of the problem. Every area of my life was crowded, crammed, with people needing me, demanding something from me. I frequently felt like I was drowning. And I wasn’t sure anyone really understood me or what I was going through.

That’s not to say that I wasn’t praying or reading my Bible or attending church. Actually, during those early years, we attended a church that pretty much expected you to be there two or three times a week, not counting the special “revival” times, when we’d all be there every day.  I read and I prayed diligently. I knew what I was supposed to do, and I really tried. I’m sure, had you asked me, I knew the Lord was with me, but I’m not sure that I knew how near he was, how much he understood, or how that understanding would have transformed my daily experiences of isolation, irritation, exhaustion, and hopelessness.

I know that most of us probably have a sense that the Lord is “with us.” Some of us can quote Hebrews 13:5, words spoken to us by a God who promises never to leave nor forsake us, who encourages us to call him our “Helper.” But I wonder if we really know how much he knows, how near he is, how present with us in the boring, mundane, exhausting daily grind. Sometimes we whether it is even possible that he should love us.

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Jesus knows what living a boring daily grind is like. He also knows what it’s like to have tired feet, and to feel overwhelmed, to be exhausted, as though you never get a moment to yourself. And (single moms this is just for you!), he also knows what it is like to be the single head of a household.

Most of us are used to focusing in on the times of Jesus’ life after he had stepped out into public ministry. While that’s not a wrong thing to do, it also misses nearly all of his life. His first 30 years were spent pretty much doing what you do everyday. He slept, he ate, he worked, he slept. Rinse. Repeat. Pretty much every day for 30 years. Just like you. Some days he went to the synagogue, but there really wasn't anything more exciting about his schedule than there is in yours.

At some point after his 12th birthday, his earthly father, Joseph, died, and Jesus took over all the responsibilities of the eldest son, protecting and providing for his mother and his siblings. He understood loneliness and the temptation to give up and give in. It’s impossible for me to overemphasize the importance of his incarnation and earthly life. That’s because it means that he doesn’t just know what your life is like because he is God (though he is). He also knows what your life is like because he lived it. He has been through “weakness and testing” and he “experienced it all.” What do you suppose his life of sawing wood, hammering nails, striving for holiness, loving his neighbor, longing for a bride, was like? It was just like yours. He isn’t “out of touch with our reality.” Get that. He knows what it is to live the life you’re living.

Except, of course, he didn’t sin. And rather than that making him unapproachable and foreign, it should make us love him even more, because it is his obedience (not ours) that causes God to throw out the welcome mat for us and invite us in. “So let’s walk right up to him and get what he is so ready to give. Take the mercy, accept the help.”[1] His obedience means first, that he was qualified to bear the punishment for our sin and secondly, that his perfect record of always having obeyed is yours and mine right now. And that, dear sisters, means that every time you need help, every time you feel like you’re just not going to make it, every time that child needs something again, you’ve got a friend in really high places. He understands what you’re going through and he’s promised to be there with you, supplying all the grace you actually need for that day. He gets it. He gets you. Better yet…you get him.

I’m still a mom. Actually, I’m the grandmother of six totally adorable darlings. The crowd is gone now, except for Family Night. Usually, it’s just Phil and I, sitting in our recliners, figuring out if we’ve already seen this week’s episode of Antiques Roadshow. But the truth that I’ve learned, is that Jesus is here with me now, just like he has been all along, and that he knows what my life is like…and that knowledge makes him my dear brother, my closest friend, my Helper, my Fiancé.

So, we can pray, Lord, I know you know what this is like for me. I also know that you love me and are so very willing to help me. So, please…I need mercy right now. I need help. And I thank you that a day is coming when I won’t struggle like I am right now and that you’ve promised to be with me until then. In Your Name, Amen

[1] Heb. 4:16, Message


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Elyse Fitzpatrick, MA, serves the church as a writer and conference speaker. The author of two dozen books on Christian daily living, she is particularly interested in exploring the intersection between God’s gracious love for us in Christ and our love for our neighbor. She has been studying the Bible since 1971 when she first came to Christ and pens numerous blogs, articles and books that strive to flesh out the depths of Scripture as it applies practically to the everyday life of believing women and men. Along with her family, she podcasts weekly at “Front Porch with the Fitzes.”