We have one grandson, so far. Alexandre will be three years old this month and he believes, really believes, that his Pe-pere (French-Canadian name for Grandpa) can fix anything. When one of his toys gets broken, he brings it to Pe-pere with full confidence that he not only can but wants to fix it for him. If Pe-pere is out on the road driving his big Pe-pere truck, then Alexandre puts it on a shelf and waits until he comes back. He doesn’t worry about it. When he sees the broken toy, he remembers that Pe-pere is going to fix it.
Jesus saw a lot of brokenness during His earthly ministry. In John 11 it’s recorded that He received news that His dear friend, Lazarus, was gravely ill. It seems that He would have dropped everything and left to heal His friend, but Jesus knew He needed to stay where He was for two more days. By the time He arrived in Bethany Lazarus had died and been buried. All the people around Him were mourning. His friends were overcome with grief. Even though He knew He would raise Lazarus from the dead, He was still affected by the sadness all around Him. Before calling Lazarus from the tomb, He turned to His Father and acknowledged Their union.
Sometimes I see such brokenness in someone I love. In my state of helplessness, I can get overcome with grief. Jesus reminds me that I can bring Him whatever seems unfixable, and like Alexandre, I can leave it with Him in full confidence that He can fix it and cares about my sadness. When it’s hard for me to “leave it on the shelf” and wait for Him to fix it, He understands my temptation to distrust and doesn’t chide me for it. With compassion for my weakness He reminds me that I can believe He hears me. (I Peter 3:12 and I Peter 5:7)
I’ve been reading about ADHD and finding the latest research fascinating. Especially what doctors and scientists have been able to learn from brain scans. Physiological differences can be seen in ADHD brains and neurotypical brains. Those differences affect the way people perceive themselves and the world around them. My interest in ADHD isn’t random. It’s personal. Recently someone recognized signs of it in me, so I’m doing some investigating. What I’ve found so far has helped make sense of things in my life. My brain works differently than most people’s brains (4.4% of adults in the US have been diagnosed). It always has, but I’ve worked hard, really hard, to make it work neurotypically (non-ADHD). Sometimes I have so much going on mentally and emotionally that it’s hard to think clearly, remember important information, or focus on what people around me need. Unfortunately, no one can see that, like they can see me sitting in a wheelchair or carrying my arm in a sling. So, assumptions are made on appearances without knowledge. Judgments are communicated, verbally and non-verbally. I become easy prey for the lie of “not good enough,” which leads to feeling embarrassed, a form of shame.
We know there were people who didn’t know who Jesus really was or understand His mission. They made assumptions and judgments based either on their ignorance or their arrogance. Was He tempted to feel shame because of the things said to Him and about Him? According to Hebrews 2:17 I believe He was, and that encourages me. Each time He was questioned, accused, or condemned He responded with confidence in who He was – the beloved Son of God. I don’t have to believe what some people think about me. The truth is that I am holy and blameless before Him (Ephesians 1:4) because my life is hidden in Christ (Colossians 3:3), and I am greatly loved (Ephesians 2:4).
Receiving love and acceptance from Him frees me to love others, so I’ve also been drawn to looking at how Jesus treated people who felt shame. A leper ostracized from society (Matthew 8), a woman with a blood disease (Mark 5), a hated tax collector (Luke 19), and an immoral woman at a well in Samaria (John 4) come to mind. He saw beneath their circumstances and behaviors. He addressed them with compassion. I want to remember that when I’m confronted with people in awkward circumstances or exhibiting uncomfortable behaviors. They’re probably already feeling shame and need my compassion.
let anyone else drive your truck. For a truck driver that means don’t be
pressured by four-wheelers. That’s trucking lingo for any vehicle with four
wheels, no matter what size it is. What does that pressure look like? Drivers
who cut in front of them, try to cut in front of them, throw up their hands (or
make obscene gestures) when passing, or just blow their horn at them. Truck
drivers already know they take up a lot of room on the road, take longer to get
up to speed or slow down, and make everyone wait while they maneuver a turn. Many
of them don’t like that kind of attention, but they’re doing the best they can
to get us the stuff we want in the time we’ve become accustomed to having it. Oh,
I know there are jerks out there. We called them “super truckers.” Not because we
thought they were super drivers, but because they thought they were.
Speeding, tailgating, and recklessly switching lanes are some of our
qualifications for being considered a super trucker. I’m not referring to any
of them in this post.
Did Jesus know what pressure felt like? I imagine the expectations of the multitudes felt like pressure, and the Pharisees were always questioning and accusing Him. Perhaps pressure also came from family and friends. The request from His mother at the wedding in Cana in John 2:3, the taunting of His brothers in John 7:6, the pleading of Mary and Martha in John 11:3, and even His disciples were impatient about the kingdom in Luke 19:11 and Acts 1:6. How did He respond? It seems that He had a confidence that refused to allow Him to be dissuaded from what He was doing. I believe that confidence came from spending time with His Father, learning what the Father wanted Him to do. Nothing was more important to Him, so no one could pressure Him into doing anything else.
Jesus told Philip in John 14:9 that if he had seen Him, then he had seen the Father. Jesus has given us access to the Father! I, too, can have confidence in knowing I’m doing what He wants me to do when I spend time with Him, listening to Him. Ah, but it will cost me time, something demanded by the multitude of things to do, places to go, and people to see. Yes, I’m pressured by “have to,” “should,” and “expected.” This is a hurried culture we live in with calls of urgency coming from many directions, but we don’t have to be conformed to it (Romans 12:2) by giving in to the pressure of traditional standards or people’s expectations. We can drive our own trucks; the life God has given us. I hope you spend time with the Father today and every day, so that no one else can drive your truck.