We Can’t Know What We Don’t Know!
Many years ago Judy and I were facing our most traumatic and hurtful trial of faith. Our world as we knew it was falling apart, and there was nothing we could do to put the pieces of our lives back together again.
Kevin Butcher and his wife Carla helped us through with words of encouragement, counsel, and their usual warm friendship. As two of our closest friends who understand the challenges and heartaches of local church ministry, their support comforted us greatly.
Four years later, Kevin and Carla faced the exact same crisis, the exact same heartache in their own church. I’ll never forget Kevin’s words to me in the middle of his own battle, “Ed, I never knew. I just didn’t understand. I wish I could have helped you more, but now that I’m going through it myself, I get it. There’s so much more I should have said, so much more I could have done.”
I assured my friend that he had not failed us in any way and reminded him of a truth we often have to rehearse: “I can’t know what I don’t know.” There was no way Kevin could have drawn wisdom from an experience he had never known personally.
When I hung up the phone, I thought of Hebrews 4:14-16 and immediately thanked the Lord Jesus for this precious promise. Because of His willingness to come to earth and to experience life as a man, He now sits in heaven with personal knowledge of what it feels like to be me. Every heartache, every trial and even every temptation.
Kevin’s friendship means so much to me. But there are times when even he has to say, “I just didn’t understand all that you were going through. I couldn’t know how you felt, how terrible it was, how much it hurt or how alone you must have been.”
But there is another Friend. A friend of sinners, who sits at the right hand of the Father. His name is Jesus, and I will never hear Him say, “I just didn’t understand.”
“Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need (Hebrews 4:14-16).