‘I’ve been there’, is a phrase that we are all familiar with, we have all watched travel shows or documentaries and exclaimed, “I’ve been there!” At the movies the other day they showed the preview for the movie ‘Hampstead’. I could not resist leaning over and whispering to Doug and Yvette, “I’ve been there!” Actually, we had all been there, we went to check out the place where my mother was born and lived. On occasions like these we are easily transported and can feel the atmosphere, the sounds and smells of the place once more. Even for those of us who have never travelled internationally there are still places and towns of interest in our own amazing countries that we identify with and end up remarking, “I’ve been there!”
Sometimes we can have that ‘I’ve been there’ feeling when someone is sharing their experiences with us. Whether funny or sad, good or bad we find ourselves exchanging similar stories. Furthermore being able to genuinely empathize is a wonderful way to share someone’s grief or sadness and if we really care we don’t actually need to have been there to identify with them.
There can be occasions when life and relationships seem too hard, it can even feel like God is not listening or responding when we pray. At times like this we do well to remember that Jesus understands completely because He’s been there. He was lied about, hated, beaten, had family issues and was betrayed. He knew what it was like to have no bed to go home to or where the next meal was coming from. On top of all this His friends let him down badly. He knew what it was like to feel God was not even there when he cried out, “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me.” The Bible says we can trust God to answer because ‘He’s been there!’ (Hebrews 4:15 The Message Bible)
80 Heath St Hampstead (my great grandmothers shop) where my mother lived