If you’re a parent, then you’re likely all too familiar with this scenario:
You’ve worked all day, come home, played with your kids, cooked dinner, cleaned up, helped with homework, given baths, read stories, and got the kids to bed. You finally have a moment to collapse on the couch for a little while at the end of the night for some much-needed time to yourself.
But inevitably, a child will always come tiptoeing down the stairs to ask for a snack. Or a drink of water. Or to tell you that “my tongue hurts!” or some other bizarre complaint.
When this happens to me, my first inclination is to bark at my kid to stop bothering me and go back to bed. I’m tired, and I’m not in the mood for my precious me-time to be interrupted. At the very least, I’m going to sigh and grumble as I get up to deal with whatever it is they need from me.
I admit that it’s not the most Christ-like response.
But it turns out that Jesus can relate pretty well to worn-out parents like us.
At the beginning of Matthew 14, Jesus’ cousin and friend, John the Baptist, was brutally killed by King Herod. When John’s disciples brought Jesus the news, he was deeply grieved.
Like you and I at the end of a long day, Jesus needed a minute. He needed time to himself to grieve, rest, and process this profound loss.
Matthew says in verse 13 that “he left in a boat to a remote area to be alone.”
And yet, the crowds cared nothing for Jesus’ personal needs. Like our kids, they just kept coming, begging him to meet their needs. “They heard where he was headed and followed on foot from many towns.”
If I were Jesus, and I needed rest as much as he did, I would’ve turned my boat around and kept going the moment that I saw a crowd gathering for me on the shore. But that’s not what He chose to do.
Instead, he “stepped from the boat, and he had compassion on them and healed their sick.”
He didn’t roll his eyes or perform his healings with a sigh, the way that I might’ve. He had compassion on them. He saw their needs put them ahead of his own. He showed them his love.
What an example.
When I read these verses, I was instantly convicted about the way that I treat my children when I feel weary. At the same time, it’s incredibly comforting to know that Jesus experienced the exact same struggle, and he’s there to help me in my weakness.
This parenting thing is sanctifying work. It reveals my selfishness and shortcomings in more ways than I ever could have imagined. I’m thankful for the gift of these children, and for the way God uses them to mold me, shape me, and make me more like Jesus.
My prayer is that, whether you’re a parent or not, you and I will allow Jesus to work in us and through us as we push past our own needs to meet the needs of others.
Let’s lean on the Holy Spirit to help us respond with love and compassion when we feel that we have nothing left to give.
That’s what Jesus did.
Digital Content Manager, STAR 93.3