Thinking about what I ‘lost’ as a result of post-natal depression, I inevitably mull over my friendships. Some of the hurts and questions still linger — and I suppose they always will, because who is free from relationship troubles? — but I really want to go beyond the “why didn’t that friend ever text me” kind of (silly-sounding) questions that, believe me, I have asked many times!
So here’s what I started with today; I started examining my heart:
Beneath our desire for friendships is a deeper desire to be known, to be loved and to be understood.
And then I prayed and read the bible:
I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep.
(John 10:14-15 ESV)
Jesus compares our relationship with him to the relationship he shares with his Father. He says he knows us the same way the Father knows him (and we also know him the same way he knows the Father). Let that sink in our heads for a bit.
Considering he’s told Thomas “if you have known me, you would have known the Father also”, he is saying we are as close to him as he is to the Father with whom he had co-existed since the beginning of time — that perfectly infinitely joyful fellowship in the Godhead. I am amazed that he welcomes me into their midst to partake of their joy and unity.
See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him.
(1 John 3:1 ESV)
We are God’s children when we trust in Jesus. More than a physician who makes the dead come alive, more than a teacher who enlightens those in the dark — God is our Father. His dealings with us go deeper than miracles and stretch further than knowledge; it is entirely characterised by love. And what a love it is that makes his enemies children! It is truly a love that surpasses knowledge. And I pray that I will be rooted and grounded in this love — what a wonderful security!
For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.
(Hebrews 4:12 ESV)
This verse tells us the word of God discerns our thoughts and intentions — it understands us from the inside out. It is a 100% foolproof lie detector. It more than understands us, it even exposes the parts of ourselves we don’t like to think about and hate to admit.
It might sound odd to say that God’s word can fulfil our need to be understood. But I am afraid sometimes when we say we want to be understood, we really mean that we want our friends to agree with us, even when we are wrong. If they disagree, we feel that they don’t understand us. In that case, we wouldn’t like God’s word very much.
Yet I have found the unique power of Scriptures strangely reassuring, especially in cases when I don’t even understand my own motives, thoughts and feelings! It unravels me like a mystery and that’s when I can really begin to sort things out.
Beneath our desire for friendships is a deeper desire to be known, to be loved and to be understood. It’s a desire our Creator has put in us and a desire that only He can satisfy. Only Jesus can truly know us, fully love us and always understand us. The next time I am tempted to feel self-pity for myself again, I have a lot to remind myself and give thanks!