How Could You Know How I Feel?

Date: November 17, 2014

Speaker: Dr. Harold J. Sala | Series: Guidelines For Living | God sets the lonely in families, he leads forth the prisoners with singing; but the rebellious live in a sun-scorched land. Psalm 68:6

“You just don’t understand! You’ve never been through what I’m going through right now!” Ever hear those words? My dad often told me that. After 60 years of married life, God took mother home. Though her health had been failing for several years, Dad didn’t see it coming. “You’ve never lost a mate. How could you know how I feel?” he would say.

Teenagers say the same thing of their parents, forgetting that at one point in their lives–way back in history–they, too, were teenagers. Single parents tell me the same thing. “You don’t know how tough it is to try to raise a child in today’s world without enough money, energy, and help!”

True–I haven’t gone through the dark valley of losing a companion of many years. I’ve never had to raise my children without the help of a mate. I haven’t been through the valley of human suffering, fighting a losing battle with devastating illness.

But to suggest that because one hasn’t been through exactly the same problem and that he or she doesn’t understand, robs you of the realization that someone does care, that someone hurts because you hurt, that someone wants to empathize with you because they love you. There would be few individuals to minister to our physical needs if doctors and nurses only treated people with medical problems which they had personally survived themselves. Say, only doctors who had their appendices removed would do appendectomies.

I’ve learned that almost always when a person faces a trial, a deep valley or a period of testing, he or she always feels that nobody fully understands. That’s true! Most of our great challenges in life are one-on-one encounters when we are not surrounded by boisterous friends and well-wishers.

Notice Jesus–alone and without friends–as He faced the forty days of testing in the desolate area of the desert between Jericho and Jerusalem. Burning sun had long since scorched the flowers of spring. No convenience stores were nearby. He was all alone. Then, think of Jesus in the garden when He was facing one of the most difficult times of His life. He asked Peter, James, and John to join Him in prayer, but they fell asleep. Disappointed, Jesus asked, “Could you men not keep watch with me for one hour?” (Matthew 26:40).

I’m reminded of the words of the old spiritual which go, “Nobody knows the troubles I’ve seen; nobody knows but Jesus!” Of Him, no one can really say, “You don’t understand what I’m going through!” He does. He faced disappointment, loneliness, and abandonment. He was forsaken by family, friends, and colleagues. He even cried out, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46). But God turned His back on His son hanging on that tree so that He would never have to turn His back on us as His children.

In his challenging book, The Heart of Praise, Jack Hayford writes, “Those who live alone–single adults, those who have lost a beloved family member, widows and widowers, people who have simply been abandoned–can sometimes feel so isolated and estranged and lonely that it’s easy to feel abandoned by God as well.” There is good news, friend! There is one who understands, who has been through the dark valley. His name is Jesus. Facing the dark hours of life only allows His presence to be more real. He’s standing in the shadows. No longer is His voice drowned out by the noise of empty chatter or his face obscured by the press of responsibilities. Take time to find Him.

Resource reading: Psalm 26:1-6, 19.