Jesus Joins Us in Our SufferingMay 22, 2019
In early 2016, when Gem and I launched Unhurried Living, I spent a few days on retreat with a small group of Christian leaders. We met at a little Episcopal retreat house called St. Columba’s in Inverness, CA. It overlooks Tomales Bay on the Pacific Coast just above San Francisco. I’m grateful for little holy places like this where we can rest, reflect and pray.
While I was there, I found myself reading a few lines from the letter to the Hebrews:
Therefore he had to become like his brothers and sisters in every respect, so that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make a sacrifice of atonement for the sins of the people. Because he himself was tested by what he suffered, he is able to help those who are being tested. (Hebrews 2:17-18 NIV)
Jesus identified with our human experience. He entered fully into our enfleshed reality with all its gifts and challenges, with all its strengths and weaknesses. He experienced temptation. He felt pain. He encountered emotional loss. He understands what we face. And so he can help us from the wisdom of lived experience and not merely from the reality of divine omniscience.
Jesus has become like his sisters and brothers. He experienced the testing of suffering in his own body just like we do. When we think about Jesus’ perspective on our hardships, we can imagine that he views them from his experience of the cross. He is not untouched by our pain.
Jesus embodies mercy, empathy and trustworthiness in our presence. His sufferings tested him and enables us to believe that we can find whatever help we need in Him in our trying times.
He is present to us right now in whatever it is that we suffer from or struggle with. He is a beautifully merciful and faithful high priest, always bringing us into the presence of his Father. He knows how to give us the help we need. Isn’t that remarkable news?
- What vision of God lies in the back of your mind when you are suffering?
- Are you tempted to imagine him distant, or can you envision Jesus seeing your struggle from his own suffering?
- How do you want to bring your needs into his presence?
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Our podcast, “Pain and Loss as Unexpected Grace.” In this episode, we talk about pain and loss. It is an inevitable part of all of our lives. We want to try to give some perspective on pain and how it can actually be viewed as a grace. If you are in the middle of deep pain right now, I’m sure that the word “grace” is not on the tip of your tongue. We are so sorry that you are so heavy and burdened right now. We hope you can hear this and tuck it away for a day when the pain or trial has subsided. Or maybe it will help give perspective in the midst. That would be our hope.