Wednesday, July 10, 2019

He Understands

I was recently reflecting on an experience that happened about six years ago during an incredibly trying time. I have gone through much harder things since, and it feels almost laughable looking back that I struggled so much through this period, but at the time I was stretched beyond my limit--a feeling I've experienced many times since, and so this lesson continues to be applicable and helpful.

At the time, Miguel was several months into his third year of medical school which is when clinical rotations begin. He would sometimes go days without seeing Jane and he worked 30 hour shifts every fourth day, one of which caused him to miss our 2nd anniversary. My work as an online high school teacher was also very busy at the time with the end of a school quarter approaching and Jane was about 9 months old. While she was fun and happy, she was also mischievous and hated to sleep, only napping about once a week.

On an especially rough day I had finally gotten Jane to fall asleep and as I walked into the kitchen to start the dishes, I just broke down. I think I said out loud, "No one understands this who hasn't experienced it."  Immediately a phrase came to mind that I had heard over and over in Sunday School classes, "Jesus Christ perfectly understands everything we experience." I had depended on that truth through many trials in my life, but I found myself questioning, "Does He really understand? He has never been married to a medical student who works 80 hours a week. He never had to work from home while trying to take care of a baby who doesn't sleep! How could He possibly understand what I'm going through?"

The answer came as a kind but clear chastisement. "That is like someone who stubbed their toe telling someone who had their leg amputated, 'You don't understand what I'm going through!' The amputee perfectly understands everything up to the level of his experience."

Jesus Christ descended below all things. There is nothing outside the level of His experience. His Atonement is truly infinite in breadth and depth. He does understand. He  lived in the flesh and suffered the Atonement specifically so He could understand. So He could strengthen us through our difficulties, so He could weep with us and hurt with us, even though He knows that a miracle is coming, because it always does in one way or another when we trust Him.

"And he will take upon  him their infirmities, that his bowels may be filled with mercy, according to the flesh, that he may know according to the flesh how to succor his people according to their infirmities." (Alma 7:12)

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