Misunderstood


Throughout my collegiate years, I struggled through unknown medical issues as I competed as a cross country and track athlete. I would get halfway through a race with normalcy and confidence, only to be zapped of energy in the second half. A strong stride would slip into a staggering attempt to finish each race. We soon found out that it was a result of high blood sugar that would be triggered in the middle of intense races. The problem was… we could not find out how to fix it AND sometimes it wouldn’t even happen.

One indoor track race in my junior year has stuck with me for years. I was a mile and a half into the 5K and I was leading a small pack at a strong pace. I felt great. Within 200 meters, the wave of exhaustion hit and I fell back. I was then picked off by the pack that had once been behind me and I struggled to keep my eyes open to finish the race. I heard a group of girls of the side whisper, “What happened to her? What was she doing out in front?” From their perspective, I looked like an overconfident competitor that died because I was running outside of my means.

Little did they know… I had run workouts much faster than that pace. I had the ability to compete at this level… but they didn’t know what was really going on. They didn’t know my story. I felt so misunderstood and embarrassed. I wanted to stop and explain to them what was happening.

The life of Jesus hit me in a new way after this race. Jesus was the most misunderstood. As He carried the cross towards His crucifixion, did anyone understand? Did anyone really comprehend the complexity of His story? What looked like embarrassment to the world was actually a platform for His glory. The ones that spit on Him were the ones He came to save.

What the world perceived as failure, God had already declared victory over it. Isaiah 53:7 says, “He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before its shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth.” Jesus did not need to explain, justify or defend His circumstances. He trusted the sovereignty of the Father to accomplish the purposes of heaven on earth.

We serve a God that understands being misunderstood, embarrassed and ultimately rejected. Hebrews 4:15 says, “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.” Jesus came to earth to conquer the very things that attempt to destroy us.

By His grace, we can glorify the Lord in the spaces we feel most vulnerable. “But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me” (2 Corinthians 12:9).

 

 

 

 

 

 

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