On Faith: The struggles Jesus knew
Sometimes, we are reminded of exactly how much depends on us. The people who rely on us. The consequences we fear.
In those moments, it's good to stop and realize that there is one savior of the universe, and it's not us. God is God and we are not. Turning to God can give us a sense of freedom — that the one who is greater than us will be faithful to us.
Then again, the reminder that God is great and beyond us can plant a different kind of thought, that this God can't possibly understand us, that we must be as nothing in the eyes of God.
But Jesus is living, breathing, proof. Jesus is in-the-flesh proof that God sees us.
In Jesus, the infinite God became joined to our finite existence once and for all. And as this God became one of us, Jesus experienced breathtakingly real-life pain, just like you and me.
For one thing, Jesus endured poverty — something many of us have never face, but too many do. Life in Nazareth was purely subsistence: growing food to survive, doing menial labor for a pittance. He experienced homelessness as well, once remarking: "Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head." (Luke 9:58).
For another thing, Jesus endured exhaustion — a thing we all face as well. Jesus walked everywhere he went. He was harassed by people looking for his help so much that at times he had no chances to eat a meal. Jesus knows what it is like to be physically and emotionally exhausted.
Again, Jesus knew what it was like to be betrayed by a dear friend. Jesus knew what it was like to have his family look at his life with contempt. Jesus knew what it was like to have so many people pretend they'd never known him.
And as one who bore the pain of those around him, Jesus knew what it was like to suffer from grief. Jesus wept at the grave of his friend, Lazarus.
Here's the point: When we turn to God, when we call Jesus to mind, we are indeed thinking of one who transcends all human understanding. And yet, this infinite one willingly entered into our existence, and experienced all these things with us, and for us.
We might not be able to understand God. But God can indeed understand us.
And because of that, God has chosen to never give up on you.
Brendan Johnston is pastor at Bethlehem Lutheran Church in Two Harbors.