It can be hard to accept compassion from someone who you believe can’t relate to your circumstances. Here’s a trivial example – your doctor puts you on a strict diet because you’re overweight and it’s making you sick. You mention it to your friends, and the thinnest one says, “Oh, we should diet together. I totally should do that too!” But you’re thinking, “Shut up, girl! You can’t imagine how I’m feeling right now!”
I once had a supervisor at work who was single, childless, and incredibly healthy. She worked from sunup to sundown without ever taking time off for sickness, and she had no-one at home to take care of. When one of us in her group did have to stay home or leave early due to our own illness or childcare issue, or even maternity leave, this supervisor would verbally give us permission and even express sympathy. Yet her little passive-aggressive off-hand remarks in other conversations or meetings told us that she resented our time away from work. She was holding it against us, so her expressions of sympathy felt empty to us.
In the same way, I think many of us hear, “God loves you,” or “God wants a relationship with you,” or “God has compassion on you,” and we think, “Why on earth would God even care? He’s God of the Universe; doesn’t He have better things to do than help lil’ ole’ me? How can someone so powerful relate to me? I’m sick, or I’m weak, but He has everything!“
Many spiritual movements or religions do depict their god (or gods) as being so big, so powerful, and so strange, or distant, or mysterious, that we can never really draw near to him or her or them. Even Christianity imagines God in that way sometimes. But there’s a difference between our God and other religions’.
Jesus, who was one with God, was born on earth as a weak and powerless baby, and was laid in a feed trough (Luke 2:6-7). He grew up in the working-class family of a carpenter (Matt. 13:55). By the time He was 10 years old, His family had had to flee the country and live elsewhere for several years because He was being hunted down by the government (Matt. 2). Jesus was tempted (Matt. 4), He got hungry (Matt. 4:2), and He got thirsty (John 19:28). He got so tired that He could sleep in a boat while a serious storm was going on around Him (Matt. 8:23-24). In John 4:6, the Bible says He was, “tired from His journey.” When He heard of his friend’s death, He wept (John 11:35). Ultimately, Jesus became such an outcast that those in His very own religion and culture had Him arrested, tortured, and executed. He felt so much anguish, knowing what was about to happen, that He sweated blood (Luke 22:43-44). And His best friends turned their backs on Him–Judas betrayed Him, Peter denied Him, and the others fled from His side (Matt. 26).
As I sad before, Jesus was and is a part of God. He said, “The Father and I are one” (John 10:30). Now, He is seated at the right hand of the Father (Heb. 12:2), meaning that He is the Father’s equal. Yet He has had the full experience of life as a human. His compassion can be trusted because He knows what it’s like down here.
There are three main things the Bible tells us that Jesus did in His ministry: He taught and forgave sins (healing minds and spirits), He healed people (healing bodies), and He fed people (sustaining life). Just because He’s no longer here in the flesh doesn’t mean His business has changed.
Cry out to Jesus. Trust that He really does love you, He really does know what you’re going through, and He really has the power to heal you–from mind, to body, to spirit.
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