Have you been betrayed by the people you trust? Have you been abandoned by your family? Are you a victim of false accusations? Have you been punished for something that you did not commit? Are there any pains in the past that you cannot forget and they hinder you from having a happy and successful life?
Most of us would say yes.
Hebrews 2:9-10 9 But we do see Jesus, who was made lower than the angels for a little while, now crowned with glory and honor because he suffered death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone. In bringing many sons and daughters to glory, it was fitting that God, for whom and through whom everything exists, should make the pioneer of their salvation perfect through what he suffered.
As we all look back on our past, there are always people or circumstances that cause us to remember pain and suffering. We all experience humiliation and injustices to various extents and we cannot help but ask ourselves, “How can I rise above the sting of despair and humiliation?”
One person we can relate to is Joseph of the Bible. His life was a series of humiliating stories.
Joseph was betrayed by the people he trusted. His family abandoned him. He was a victim of false accusations and suffered injustice. He was punished for a crime that he did not commit. Joseph’s life as God’s servant was not about the absence of problems. It was about God’s grace towards him and how he responded to all the challenges that faced him.
At the end, he positively declared God’s goodness above every humiliating event in his life.
I’m sure that the people of the Middle East have been on your mind these past weeks. In Iraq, Syria, Israel, Palestine, and Libya, we see a never-ending struggle for peace. We see bombs, bullets, beheadings, hunger, and diseases afflict many innocent lives. We also think of the thousands of people in West Africa who at this very present day are threatened by the Ebola virus.
How can we possibly feel their pain? No matter how hard I try, I can’t imagine what these people are going through. Honestly, the only way that we can genuinely feel any person’s pain is by being him or her. How then can God possibly know our suffering? How can God genuinely feel our pain?
I once read about a King who really wanted to know his people, and feel what they felt. And so, he laid aside his royal robes, put on some old work clothes, left his palace behind, and went to among the people!
This is how God is able to feel our pain. The Bible tells us that Jesus Christ became lower than the angels. He became a man so that he might experience the suffering of humanity. Because he became a man, he can be touched with the feelings of our infirmities.
Hebrews 4:15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin.
John 1:10-14 He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. 11 He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. 12 Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— 13 children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God. The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
We have the Word of God who became like us: flesh and human.
Hebrews 2:14-18 Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might break the power of him who holds the power of death—that is, the devil— and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death. For surely it is not angels he helps, but Abraham’s descendants. For this reason he had to be made like them, fully human in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that he might make atonement for the sins of the people. Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.
The prophet Isaiah wrote of Christ several hundred years before his birth, and describes him with these words, “He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief.”
In describing how God became a man, Dorothy Sayers writes in her book Christian Letters To A Post-Christian World:
“The God who gave us the dignity of freedom of choice now takes upon himself the consequences of our wrong choices.”
For whatever reason, God chose to make people as they are – limited and suffering and subject to sorrows and death. And he had the honesty and courage to take his own medicine. Whatever plan he has in mind with his creation, God has kept his own rules and played fair. He can take nothing from us that he has not taken from himself. Through Jesus Christ, he himself has gone through the whole human experience, from the trivial irritations of family life and the cramping restrictions of hard work and lack of money, to the worst horrors of pain and humiliation, defeat, despair, and death. He was born in poverty and died in disgrace, and thought it all worthwhile because of his love for us.
Are you standing somewhere in the middle of a storm? Jesus knows. In fact, you’ll find Jesus right in the middle of the storm. He’s a friend who always cares and understands. Are you standing in the midst of darkness, confusion, and fear? Jesus is there with you. Just open your eyes to Him and see Jesus as the light that will give you guidance and assurance.
During President Ronald Reagan’s presidential campaign in 1979, a woman of about 80 spoke out from the audience at the end of one of his campaign speeches. “Mr. Reagan, everything you’ve said sounds just fine. But what about the old folks? Haven’t you forgotten us?”
The man who was to become the oldest president of the United States smiled at her and replied, “Forget you? Heavens, how could I ever forget you? I am one of you.”
Does God feel our pain? Yes, he does, because His Son, Jesus, became one of us!