We all have a story. We each have history. There are certain chapters and characters of our stories that we love and cherish. But then there are others that we would rather forget and ignore. We want to forget the chapters of our lives that contain our dark secrets and disheartening hardships. Some of us talk to God about those hard times, but some of us keep quiet because we feel frustrated, hopeless and don’t know where God was during those times of pain. We tend to ignore the chapters that hurt the most and pretend they never occurred.
Someday we’ll see the outline of God in those difficult situations, we’ll see what He was doing – we’ll see that He was there. “In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed” (1 Peter 1:6-7). When new hardships and difficult times come our way, we must learn to reflect on previous struggles to recognize where God was and how He was molding us. These moments teach us to say, “Those things in the past were painful…and though there was uncertainty as to what God was doing, I know that He was still there and that He was good. So He must be here and He must be good now.” In our hardships, past and present, we must remember that Jesus is the Messiah and that He knows and loves us. He has been delivering this message to all people, even those with a dark past.
In John 4, Jesus went through Samaria and met this Samaritan woman at a water well. He started talking with her, which at the time was not normal and not OK because the Israelites and the Samaritans had a deep prejudice against one another. Not only that, but women were not given the same rights as men and were often viewed as below men. Rarely was a woman taken seriously in the community. Despite all this, He spoke to her. So she talked with Him, skepticism and sarcasm. After a while, Jesus tells her to go find her husband and come back. The woman says that she doesn’t have a husband. Jesus totally calls her out by saying, “You’re right when you say you have no husband. The fact is, you’ve had five and the man you’re now with is not your husband.” The women, probably terrified, said that He must be a prophet, and then tried to change the subject, most likely out of fear. However, Jesus didn’t let her, nor did He condemn her. Instead, He spoke to her with kindness. Then, Jesus revealed that He was the Messiah. The Samaritan woman ran into town, saying, “Come see a man, who told me everything I ever did!” Her secrets had not magically gone away and she certainly had not forgotten her painful past, but she ran and told the story freely because Jesus showed her that He knew and loved her.
Sometimes we think that Jesus doesn’t care about our past. But, the truth is, He cares so deeply for us that He desires to meet us and comfort us in our darkest hours. Technically, Jesus didn’t have to go through Samaria during His travels from Galilee to Jerusalem and back. Typically, Israelites took a longer round-a-bout way to avoid going through Samaria. Jesus didn’t have to go through Samaria. But He did. In the same way, He doesn’t have to come to us in our time of need, but He wants to. His desire is to be with us, to comfort us and to lavish His love on us. He comes to us and meets us where we are in our pain. He comes to us in the midst of our issues. He brings us back to the truth, which is that He is the Messiah and He knows us…and He loves us. Jesus knows the depths of our pain and darkness, yet He chooses to love us unconditionally. He chooses to see us in our purest, most beautiful form. Christ has great compassion on us and believes that we are worthy of His steadfast love. No matter what the secret chapters of our life hold, we can trust that He will not turn us away and that He will continue to love us no matter what.