No, I am not feeling particularly misunderstood just now. But I was reading this morning about Hannah in I Samuel 1. Not only was she longing for a child, but her husband had another wife who did have children and who “provoked her sore” and “made her fret.”
(Aren’t you glad we don’t have polygamy these days?! Years ago our pastor said that people sometimes asked him why God didn’t say anything about the patriarchs having more than one wife. He replied, “Does He have to spell it out? Isn’t it obvious from the stories we have recorded that it doesn’t work well?” But I digress….)
Hannah’s husband, instead of understanding and empathizing, said, “Hannah, why weepest thou? and why eatest thou not? and why is thy heart grieved? am not I better to thee than ten sons?”
She was even misunderstood at first by the man of God, who mistook her fervent prayers for drunkenness.
When not only our nearest and dearest but those who are supposed to shepherd us and give us counsel fail us, what can we do?
We can do what Hannah did: pour out our hearts to the only One who can truly understand our heart’s longings and our deepest needs. He understands thoroughly; He cares intimately; He alone has the power and the wisdom and the grace to meet our needs in the best possible time and way.
Though He often does give us human helpers to counsel, encourage, uplift, and empathize, sometimes they fail us. We need not hold it against them: they’re only human, and we even fail others sometimes, so we shouldn’t be surprised when others fail us. And sometimes He takes them away so that we may draw closer to Him.
Some years ago a friend on furlough from the mission field was telling about how her family and their co-workers were not quite on the same wave length. They could work together but just didn’t quite mesh. One morning as she was taking a walk and praying, she was explaining something to God so He could understand where she was coming from, because she was so used to her co-workers not understanding. Suddenly it dawned on her that she didn’t have to do that with Him. It was such a blessed relief and a joy to be fully understood.
It makes me think of the song “No One Understands Like Jesus.”
Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising,
thou understandest my thought afar off.
For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched
with the feeling of our infirmities;
but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.
Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace,
that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.