Each heart knows its own bitterness; and no one else can share its joy. Proverbs 14:10
Have you ever made a phone call to someone with the most exciting news and once you told them, they just didn’t respond in the way you were hoping? You had so wanted them to share in your excitement and be happy too, and it was really disappointing when they didn’t!
Or have you ever been so upset over a situation, and yet, those closest to you didn’t seem to even notice or care? How frustrating and hurtful that can be! Or perhaps they truly might have been trying to be empathetic and caring, but yet, you knew they just didn’t get it. Doesn’t it sometimes feel as if no one truly understands how we feel?
This proverb, like so many, is a short, meaningful statement that gives us a truth about life. In reality, we can walk this journey of life together, even share similar experiences, but we can never truly know what another person feels. Our emotions, such as bitterness, despair, joy, and happiness are felt in the sanctuary of our hearts, and truly, they are ours alone. We may try to make our feelings known to others by our demeanor and our words, but they can’t truly know our hearts, and we can’t know theirs.
No matter how hard we try, we can’t begin to know the depth of their suffering or mental anguish, or their bitterness because of loss or disappointment. We can’t truly understand another’s shame, confusion, their insecurities, or their despair. We can share in their tears and often try to carry their pain as our own, but yet, we can’t fully know what their heart feels. We can share in another’s happiness, but we will never be able to fully experience their indescribable joy, contentment, hope, and peace.
An old American Indian proverb says, “Do not criticize another‘s walk until you have walked 2 miles in his moccasins.” And even then, we can’t really understand or know. Each individual heart is unique. Each person feels things differently. Each of us has to walk this journey of life alone with God – our joys and sorrows, hopes and fears are ours, even if they are somewhat like the feelings and experiences of others, and only God can know the depth of our emotions. Only He can truly understand and know.
Neither can anyone else fully understand our relationship with God – our trust and faith in Him, our love for Him, our contentment and peace we can experience in His presence, and the strength we can find in His Word. We can share these thoughts with others, but sometimes we can’t even put them into words ourselves.
I love the Psalms in which David and others express all these emotions so well as they cry out to God in times of need, or joyfully praise His name with love and gratitude. They often echo my feelings and give me the words I need when I pray.
But whether we voice our feelings or keep them in our hearts, gratefully we can always have the confidence of knowing that our God knows and understands. We can always tell Him exactly what we are feeling. He knows anyway, but He longs to hear it from us and He desires that we come to Him.
What a comfort to know that someone understands, especially the One who loves us most! “I will be glad and rejoice in your love, for you saw my affliction and knew the anguish of my soul.” (Psalm 31: 7)
*If you are reading these Daily Devotions in 2015, you may want to scroll forward to April 13 – 20th and come back to April 1st at a later date. These entries include Scripture passages about the Easter story. (In 2014, Easter Sunday was much later – on April 20th.)
Thank you, dear Lord, that you know our hearts. You know our pain, our fears, our deepest thoughts and emotions, and you also know our joy. Thank you for loving us through each and every situation and for being a constant source of strength and peace in our lives. Amen