“I know your tribulation and your poverty (but you are rich) and the slander of those who say that they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan.”
“I KNOW how you feel.” It was such a surprise to me to learn it’s not recommended to say this when I took college counseling courses. We truly can never KNOW exactly how another person is feeling or thinking. Even as comforting as it sounds to say and hear “I understand,” we don’t, we can’t, and never will as another human being. Each person experiences life uniquely. We can instead say “I’ll be here for you, I’ll listen to you, I love you”, when appropriate.
In the letter to the Smyrnian church members, Jesus himself empathizes with them, “I KNOW your tribulations, I KNOW your poverty, I KNOW the slander you suffer.” Jesus can say I KNOW because he is God. He KNOWS everything, past, present and future (Isa. 46:10). He KNOWS your heart, your every thought, your every motive (1 Chron. 28:9; Psalm 139). He is omniscient and omnipotent (1 John 3:20). And he not only KNOWS everything about you, he actually lived on earth and went through human suffering, tribulation, poverty and slander as God himself. Jesus is in the position to truly understand and KNOW what suffering the believers were experiencing because He is God (Hebrews 2:9-10).
Jesus KNOWS clearly and with certainty everything you experience (Hebrews 4:13). Jesus KNOWS the plan he’s established for your life (Jeremiah 29:11), and the path he’s designed for you to follow for your greatest benefit to the glory of God (Ephesians 2:10). When we suffer (not if), we need to realize Jesus is with us, he promises to never leave us (Isaiah 43:2). We can’t take any lack of intervention on God’s part as lack of attention (Job 34:21). He KNOWS the feeling of alienation, aloneness and being forgotten and promises never to forsake us (Deuteronomy 31:6-8). When we suffer, Jesus is for us. He KNOWS us intimately; he is trustworthy, merciful and just. And when we suffer, Jesus comforts us; the all-knowing God is also the all -loving God. The Smyrnian letter contains no rebuke or correction, only support, encouragement, and a promise of the crown of life for their faithfulness. Today, list the ways you know God knows what you’re going through. List the ways God comforts you. Revel in his love for you by listening to this song by Jeremy Camp, “He Knows.”
By Donna Burns