Sometimes the highs and lows of our lives, including our spiritual lives, can be discouraging.
Some days I go to worship, and God’s presence just surrounds me. I’m so overcome, I can barely stop myself from kneeling face down in the sanctuary. Maybe I shouldn’t stop myself, even if I would be the only one and people would probably wonder what’s wrong with me. I’m still conflicted over that. God speaks to me a lot when I am worshiping in church. Maybe that’s the only time He knows He has my attention. It’s painful to admit it, but some weeks, that is probably true. I looked at the date of my last post to this blog. 27 days ago. Ouch. Where have I been?
Tell me I’m not the only one who leaves worship ecstatic, and by the time I get home, I’m yelling at my kids or arguing with my husband. I can’t be the only one. Sometimes it takes a little longer, but by the time I’ve driven my son to youth group, picked up some groceries and a newspaper, gone back home, caught up on housework and laundry, figured out dinner if my husband hasn’t already, fed everyone, worked on lesson plans for the upcoming week, picked up aforementioned son, put my daughter to bed, and cleaned up the kitchen, I’m not exactly brimming with the sense of God’s presence anymore. Actually, I’m lucky if I remember anything about church that morning, including how it felt.
And that’s just a normal Sunday. Sometimes the lows are even lower. I encounter someone with a critical spirit and become their next target. I work hard on something and no one notices. I lose something important. I fail to keep my writing time commitment. A family member or friend fails to be supportive, or hurts my feelings, or becomes unwell. Although I turn to God for help and strength in these times, they are definitely low times, and they don’t feel very good when I’m going through them.
It occurred to me after observing Palm Sunday yesterday at church that Jesus really knows what highs and lows feel like. One day He’s being celebrated like a king, and a few days later, He is betrayed by one of His dearest friends. One day He is healing people, and the next He in compelled to drive cheaters and hypocrites out of His Father’s house. One moment He is celebrating Passover with men who are like family to Him, and the next, he is arrested and deserted by every last one of them.
It reminds me of these verses:
“Now that we know what we have—Jesus, this great High Priest with ready access to God—let’s not let it slip through our fingers. 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 4:14-16)
As far as I’m concerned, it comforts me to know that Jesus understands. He experienced the emotions, the disappointments, the elation and the heartache that I experience. He understands our reality, because He lived a completely human existence, even as he was also completely divine. I don’t know if I would be able to draw close to Him in the same way if I didn’t know He understood.
I pray that the days leading up to Easter would be days of not only holy remembrance of what Jesus did for us on the cross, but also days of drawing close to Him in anticipation of celebrating the joy of His resurrection. God bless you!