Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Jesus Knows How You Feel

If you are visiting me as a follow up to yesterdays P31 devotion and blog post, then welcome back! I want to take this opportunity to let all of you know how much I appreciated and was so uplifted and encouraged by all the countless comments and emails from around the country, Canada, and as far away as Malaysai and the Philippines!

I am in awe at how God makes the world seem so much smaller, as we all walk in faith together serving such an amazing God. Thank you all for sharing your valuable advice & suggestions to help my sister, offers to pray for her, priceless bible verses, and countless personal stories of hope journeys and miraculous healings. Every story, comment and email lifted my spirits in an unbelievable way. Nothing is more encouraging than to be reminded that everyone has troubles, some worse than others, but that the same God is there to hold each of our hands, and that our hope rests in Him alone. I can hardly take it all in without getting all mushy, and I pray God blesses each of you in a special way this week. Smiles and hugs.

Now lets take another step in our journey of hope together. Yesterdays post focused on praising God during the storm, and loving Him even when life is hard. Today I want to focus on the only thing that will allow us to do that - attitude.

You know, Jesus had every reason to have a bad attitude.

In the few years that Jesus was walking the earth, He experienced more than His fair share of hardships and heartaches, to put it lightly.

He experienced every emotion imaginable including celebrations, threats, joy, intense grief, overwhelming sorrow, looming disappointments, life interruptions, ridiculous demands, daily pressures, rejection, temptation, hurt, embarrassment, betrayal and loneliness.

So when we go through really hard times, facing those huge giants that seem to be sucking the life right of our heart, it is so comforting to remember that Jesus knows how we feel.

Maybe you have come back to my blog today because you are experiencing one or many of those emotions above. Maybe you are still feeling hopeless, and desperately seeking any word from God to help you get through the situation you are facing. Maybe you feel like nobody can understand what you are going through, and no one can relate to what you are feeling. But friend, I want to remind you today, that Jesus knows how you feel.

In Max Lucados book, In The Eye Of The Storm, which is one of my most very favorite books ever, Max writes this:

When Matthew writes that Jesus had compassion on the people, he is not saying that Jesus felt casual pity for them. No, the term is far more graphic. Matthew is saying that Jesus felt their hurt in his gut:

- He felt the limp of the crippled.
- He felt the hurt of the diseased.
- He felt the loneliness of the leper.
- He felt the embarrassment of the sinful.

And once He felt their hurts, He couldnt help but heal their hurts. He was moved in the stomach by their needs. He was so touched by their needs that He forgot His own needs. He was so moved by the people’s hurts that He put His hurts on the back burner.


This paragraph above from Lucados book makes it crystal clear the immensity of compassion that Jesus has for us, but also, the immensity of His understanding.

He not only can understand how we are feeling because He walked the earth as God in human flesh, but also because His love for us causes Him to actually feel our hurts. He doesnt merely catch our every tear and desire to comfort us, He actually shares our pain, physically and emotionally.

But regardless of the disappointments and pain that Jesus suffered, in His body, and on our behalf, what we can hopefully take away from this understanding is the incredible realization that despite all of His sufferings, He never wavered in His attitude.

Jesus never got mad in sin and refused to forgive someone. Jesus never betrayed someone because they had betrayed Him. Jesus never turned away from someone in need. Jesus never gossiped about anyone behind their back. Jesus never lacked compassion. Jesus was never selfish. Jesus was never prideful. Jesus was never rebellious. Jesus was never unrighteous in his thoughts or actions. Jesus was never hurtful to others. Jesus never forgot who His Father was, even when He felt forgotten, and forsaken for a brief moment.

Jesus never looked for the bad in people or circumstances, He always looked for the good. He always turned experiences, into eternal encounters. Jesus always tried to focus on what people could learn from mistakes, not condemn because they made mistakes. Jesus never questioned Gods intentions, or purposes, even when He suffered great heartbreak and physical pain.

His attitude was not founded on the shifting sand of His earthly circumstances, His earthly surroundings or His human feelings. It was grounded on the Rock of Salvation, the Father that was bigger than anything He could encounter. The One whom He knew would always be able to come to His rescue, as was within His will.

Regardless of how people treated Jesus, the challenges He faced, the persecution He endured and the pain He suffered, Jesus’s attitude remained one of love, compassion, and optimism. He was able to look past the present, to see the future benefits. He believed to the depths of His soul what we learn about in Romans 8:28, that says everything serves a higher purpose, to glorify God, for those who are loved and called by God.

I think it is important to also keep in mind that Jesus was not a shallow optimist - He could see the good, the bad and the ugly. In fact, He lived in a shadow of a cross looming in the distance. But His faith and His attitude never wavered.

Oh, to have an eternal optimist outlook on life, an attitude of hope, and a perspective of love, like Jesus did. I can only imagine how happy our life would be if we could stay so grounded in our faith that we would never waver in our own attitudes - that we would never succumb to pessisim and anxiety - that we would never doubt eternal purpose in a heartbreaking situation.

We obviously cannot achieve this perfection of heart or mind. Just by virtue of living in a broken world, we will always be tempted to succumb to negativity and a loss of hope. But praise Jesus, we have been promised His grace when we do - the freely given, unmerited favor and love of God.

Grace to learn from our mistakes. Grace to face the battles when they come. Grace to fail and be forgiven. The grace to offer hope even when we feel hopeless and forgotten.

Its okay to feel hopeless, in fact it is perfectly normal,and maybe reality tells you that your situation even warrants it. But Gods grace is sufficient.

As we strive to believe that God knows how we feel and desires for us to have peace and abundant joy in our hearts, despite what is going on in our lives, only then can we begin to catch a glimpse of the hope that He has readily available if we seek it from Him. A level of hope that is not attainable from worldy people or things. A hope that is unseen, that is against all odds, because we believe in His sovereignty.

Its kind of funny if you think about it, to consider that our attitude/outlook in general, could be the determining factor in our level of hope. Our faith obviously drives our hope, but our attitude will drive our faith.

Friends, seek out Gods grace today to find hope. Remember that Jesus not only knows and understands how you feel, but that His grace will rain down upon you, if you lift up your hands and welcome the rain.

2 Corinthians 12:9 But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me.

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17 comments:

Tracey said...

This is very true. I have started changing my outlook on life the past couple of weeks and it has made a big difference in my daily joy. Not only that but others are starting to notice it also which has given me several opportunities to tell them why. I just keep reminding myself that it doesn't matter how I see situations but what matters is that God is in control and His plans are to prosper me and not to harm me.

Eagles Wings said...

Oh yes so true....I posted your link to today's post to my FB for a friend to read...
Thanks and yes it's all attitude...I've been working really hard on this one in my relationship with my hubby and it has made a huge difference....
THANK YOU!

Wanda said...

Oh how I want to have a "right" spirit and attitude.
Some days....I just fall short.

So very thankful...God is on the throne!

Betty said...

Thank you, Tracie. Grace...faith...an attitude like Jesus. My prayers today.

Digging for Pearls said...

Great thought Tracie. I'm praying for you.

Blessings,
Pearls

Ellen said...

Enjoyed your message today.

Colleen said...

Tracie,

Thank you for the reminder of just how all-encompassing God's grace is. This post contained so much thought-provoking information, that I have to re-read it to take it all in.

You helped me to realize that what plagues me today is my attitude. Hope I have, for God has shown me to place my hope and trust in Him.

Now as I journey through my days, I realize that in all things I must turn to God for help, lest I stumble on the rocks the world sets in my path.

I wish you blessings in this day.

Anonymous said...

I don't usually comment on blogs, but I felt God nudging me to do so today. I am responding to your devotion regarding hope, and the one in which you talked about your sister with MS. My youngest sister has MS as well. My heart goes out to you and your sis. II Cor 1:3-5 came to mind when I read the devotion. Thank you and my prayers are with you.

Mary said...

Thank you for your posts yesterday and today. I listened to Casting Crowns song "I'll Praise you in this Storm" over and over again when going through some very difficult times earlier this year. God proved himself faithful and carried us through the storm! Thank you for the reminder of keeping my attitude in check. It has been a bit "sour" lately. I know through leaning on Christ my attitude will improve.

Anonymous said...

Hi Tracie,

Boy!..... If only the News and News Papers could print messages like this.

...and may you (also) know how much you lift us up. Hug.

Attitude.....Something I know I definately need to work on.

"Our faith obviously drives our hope, but our attitude will drive our faith".....Love this Tracie...something I want to post and read it time...and time...and time again.

Thanks for your encouragement....

....An attitude of gratitude changes your outlook, your day, and your life.
....Appreciating every day of your life is the secret to being happy with your life.

Keep the Hope flowing...

You are gifted.
Thanks God Bless.
Rhonda

Jennifer said...

You are so right...attitude makes all the difference. How awesome it is that God is patient with me because some days I just don't quite get it right.

Tammy said...

Reading your post reminded me of my mom. She was always filled with joy not matter what the situation was.

In His Grace,
Tammy

songofjoy said...

I've really enjoyed reading your writing over the past couple of days. It seems that everyday I need to remind myself that no matter what I'm feeling or what's going on around me that God has not abandoned me and that this world is not my home. Thank you for your encouragement.

songofjoy

GrammaGrits said...

Oh, the struggle of attitude. I love the song by Kristyn Getty that says, Change my heart and my attitude - ouch - so needed for all of us.

Kim said...

Love your post today and yesterday, Tracie. What a wonderful reminder that we need to watch our attitudes in all that we do.

(howdy, Lysa)

Kim

Anonymous said...

The devotion on your sister caught my attention. I don't usually comment on blogs but this one hit home with me. My husband passed away with cancer 3 years ago. We had 3 sons. I married a man who lost his wife from complications due to medication she had taken for MS. They had 1 son and 2 daughters. She was a cheerleader in school, college, even after college. Her 2 daughters, now 13 and 11 are cheering. I'm going to share your devotion with them so they will know one day they will do cartwheels in heaven with their mom.

Please remember our family in your prayers as we blend and pray we will do Gods will in raising them.

Joyful said...

Welcoming that grace rain. Wanting a downpour and needing to be drenched...soaked through to the deepest, driest part of my heart.

Joy