It has been said a lot lately, but the past couple of years have been hard. We desire predictability and order, but a global pandemic, cultural shifts, and growing instability all around have left many of us feeling like we are on the losing end of a boxing match—waiting for the next gut punch.
As a fourth-grade teacher, I’ve sensed a collective weariness in my students and their parents this year that I haven’t seen before. We’ve been forced to rely on barely sufficient energy reserves, and no one is thriving. But this made me all the more grateful for my teaching team. To outsiders, I couldn’t explain why teaching through the pandemic was so hard. But to those walking through the same experiences, we instantly understood one another.
I feel the same with the pastors’ wives I meet with over dinner and the ladies in my Bible study group. As the women in my church met weekly to study Jen Wilkin’s Better: A Study of Hebrews, my heart found hope in Hebrews 4:15, “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.” My weaknesses don’t count against me; they propel me to Jesus, who sees, knows, and loves me. Click To Tweet
Better than my coworkers understanding my classroom concerns, better than dear sisters understanding my pastor’s wife woes, Jesus understands everything. He understands my worries about my kids, my insecurities, and my lack of faith to trust his promises and provisions. My weaknesses don’t count against me; they propel me to Jesus, who sees, knows, and loves me. This changed everything in my life, and it’s the news we get to share with others who need a change, too.
Here are three truths from the book of Hebrews to help in our weaknesses:
1. Draw Near to Jesus
There is a well-worn path between my classroom and my co-teachers’ classrooms. It reminds me of an even better path available as we carry our struggles to Jesus. As Hebrews 4:16 explains, “Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” The path to grace and mercy is near and accessible.
We can draw near to Jesus because of his work as both our high priest and our substitutionary sacrifice. He humbled himself to walk this earth fully man, which means he is intimately acquainted with our struggles. It’s hard to comprehend how the God who spun the world into motion can sympathize with our every weakness, but he does. He is nearer than any friend or coworker and offers understanding like no one can. So let us draw near to him for the grace and mercy we need.
2. Rest in God’s Character
The author of Hebrews knew that his audience was encountering difficult circumstances (Heb. 10:32–34), but instead of focusing his attention on the struggles they were facing, he points them to the beauty of Christ. Jesus is better than the law. He is better than the temple, the sacrifices, and the high priest—indeed, Christ is better than anything.
When I turn my focus to who Christ is, the tumultuous storm around me begins to fade. I’m constantly tempted to seek the wisdom of the world or shake my fist at my circumstances, but God’s Word shows me the One who is greater and who has overcome the world (John 16:33). Studying the Bible helps me to loosen my grip on my life and open my arms to our God who is worthy of all glory and praise.
3. Invest in Friendships
It takes time and courage to develop relationships that are gospel-rooted and authentic—but it’s worth the effort. When we build trustworthy friendships, we experience the joy of fellowship that is ours in Christ. In my women’s small group, I love seeing the way studying God’s Word shapes our confession and prayer time. Scripture reveals the areas I fall short, my need for grace, and the goodness of who God is. By studying with other believers, I see so many things that I would not see alone.In sharing our burdens with friends, we’re encouraging their good works and sharpening our own faithfulness. Click To Tweet
The writer of Hebrews found this true as well: “And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near” (Heb. 10:24–25). Having friends that sharpen us keeps our eyes fixed on Jesus, and we “pay much closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it” (Heb. 2:1).
The truth that Christ sympathizes with our weaknesses has given me so much hope this year. We can draw near to him in prayer with confidence, knowing he understands. When we study his Word, our circumstances fade as we rest in his goodness. In sharing our burdens with friends, we’re encouraging their good works and sharpening our own faithfulness.
We’re never alone, especially in our time of need. What a good and worthy God we serve. What a privilege to be part of his mission to bring weak and weary sinners to repentance and faith in Christ.