_ Study _
“Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has gone through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way just as we are—yet was without sin. Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”
_ Read _
One 90 degree summer night, rain pricked my bare legs, as an unwelcome, mighty wave of anxiety coursed through my body. Breath did not come easy, and peace was nowhere to be found. I’d experienced an anxiety attack before, but nothing like this one; and most certainly never in this place – an outdoor Christian festival I’d grown up attending. Instead of cheering as one of my favorite bands, For King & Country, took the stage, I fled the stadium with my husband in tow. Tears streamed down my face as I debated tapping a paramedic on the shoulder for help. I could not get a grip and release did not come.
In that moment, I was so angry with God. I knew in my soul that He was with me but it sure didn’t feel like He understood the pain I was in. I felt trapped, and alone.
I love the holidays but there’s something about the “most time wonderful time of the year” that often feels not so great, as feelings of being trapped or alone in our circumstances bubble up with a vengeance. Grief, singleness, longing, anxiety or fear often seem to weasel their way into this beautiful season.
It’s in these pits of isolation and feeling stuck that it is difficult to believe that God could possibly understand the pain we’re enduring. But these are the times we must remember the truth in Hebrews 4:15 - “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weakness, but we have one who has been tempted in every way just as we are…”
God sent Jesus to earth in a very specific way, as a baby in a manger, so that He might experience life as we know it. He could’ve come up with a different plan to save us, but He came as a human so He might know our pain, sympathize with our weakness, and know exactly what we need to endure it.
“My help comes from You. You’re right here pulling me through. You carry my weakness, my sickness, my brokenness all on your shoulders, your shoulders. My help comes from you. You are my rest, my rescue, I don’t have to see to believe that You’re lifting me up on your shoulders, your shoulders.”
- Shoulders, For King & Country
As the band belted these lyrics that muggy summer night, I fought my anxiety attack with all the strength I had within me; one foot in front of the other I made my way back into the stadium clinging to the truth that Jesus is my rest, my rescue, and will always pull me through.
I don’t know where you are at today; whether you’re feeling trapped or free, but I am thankful that because of Christ, we can find rest amidst suffering.
My prayer is that together we might use this Advent season as a reminder of the anticipation, the waiting, the longing we experience as we wait for Christ’s return when every tear will be wiped away and every wound will be healed.
_ Practice _
Take 5 minutes to get gut-level honest with yourself and with the Lord about whatever feels heaviest on your heart right now. Speak it out loud to Him or write it down – tell Him how frustrated you are. Then take 3 deep breaths, praise Jesus that He can sympathize with our pain and suffering, and go boldly before the throne in prayer. Ask Him to lead you to peace and trust that He will provide rest in your time of need.
_ Extra resources _
Katie Jo Ramsey’s Instagram account – Katie is a writer and therapist who suffers from a painful autoimmune disease. She is constantly sharing truth about the struggle to find joy amidst suffering. I am constantly encouraged by her feed.
This devotional is part of the A Restful Advent series.
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