Most of the characters in my fictional books struggle with understanding who God really is. Their journeys are what make me want to write about them, because, I, too, struggle with that.
But no matter how much I struggle with understanding God, he has no trouble understanding me, which Hebrews 4 makes clear:
“So then, since we have a great High Priest who has entered heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to what we believe. This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same testings we do, yet he did not sin. So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most..” Hebrews 4:14-16 (NLT)
Up until this passage, the book of Hebrews is about the greatness and supremacy of Jesus—and our need to cling to him for our hope and future. It is full of warnings about making sure we remain faithful to Jesus and give him the honor he deserves. These chapters can make us feel that Jesus is so mighty and powerful that we become frightened of him and of our ability to follow him.
That’s why chapter 4 is such a breath of fresh air. It reassures us that Jesus not only deserves his exalted status, but that he uses his high position to encourage and renew us. He is a God who has walked our paths, who understands what it is like to be a weak and frail human. He understands the pull of temptation, but, fortunately, he never gave into it so that we can find help from him in our own frailties. And instead of condemning us for our inability to live a perfect life, he offers us his flawless life in exchange, showering us with mercy—withholding what we deserve because of our sin—and filling us with grace—lavishing us with all the good things we don’t deserve.
So when I lack confidence in my relationship with Jesus, I realize I don’t really understand what he offers me. He offers to trade my life for his—not only to forgive my sin but to help me walk through this life with his grace and mercy. And he not only gets me, but loves me in spite of that. What a gift!