John 16:33 says, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (NIV).
I’ve been going through some really painful things in my personal life lately. The pain can get unbearable and I’ve asked God how will I ever be a proper evangelist if my spirit is broken and not even close to the type of joy and hope that I’m describing. How can a person believe in “Good News” when my face is so grim and my heart is so heavy?
Then I looked a lot closer, and I realized that Jesus openly wept when Lazarus died. He didn’t hide his pain, He didn’t fake it. He felt so nervous the night in His arrest in the Garden of Gethsemane and He begged His disciples to stay awake and pray with Him. Jesus was vulnerable with His followers, He was vulnerable with us. He said “in this world you WILL have trouble.” (John 16:33). He didn’t sugar coat a single thing. He didn’t tell us we wouldn’t ever have pain, or that we would have to always outwardly express the joy found in Him, He simply offered us hope.
If Jesus was vulnerable, then we can be vulnerable. Sometimes I wonder if we make Christianity feel unattainable to the non-believer because of our habit of saving face, of putting on our church mask, of pretending things are going great. Vulnerability never made Jesus less powerful, influential, or wise to His disciples. It never made them doubt Him. It made Him authentic. He wept. He was tempted. He needed time away sometimes after preaching to large crowds. He felt pain, sadness, anger. And He showed it all, and in those times you always see Him finding time to slip away to pray. Take your burdens to the Lord in prayer, let Him comfort you and remind you that you don’t have to ever lose hope, but don’t hide them from your family, your friends, your congregation. It’s the best evangelism when others can see how God is with us in both the hills and valleys. Your authenticity and vulnerability will show others not a religion or an unattainable version of you that’s always happy. It will show them a relationship with the Living God, who felt all we will ever feel and has overcome it all and is here to assist us and intercede for us and loves us through every season, every day.