You can’t ignore pain. It’s all around us. Not only do we see pain acted out in our world and society, but as we age, we feel it in our bones. A simple fall, as a child, leads to a plea for the parent.
As parents, we respond to the cry because we understand the feeling. We’ve all scraped a knee, cut a finger, touched a hot stove. We look at our child and remember our own pain.
Not only do we understand the pain, but we also know the blessing of receiving comfort. Children who receive love are more likely, as adults, to show love to their children.
Of course, that’s in a perfect world. Ours is far from this reality, and you may be the child who was ignored in your tears, who sought solace in a blanket or television set. The parent who was supposed to understand your suffering, for some reason, did not.
The Father God of the universe is not like that parent. He does not turn a deaf ear to our cry for help, because he understands our suffering and pain. By entering into our world, he willingly experienced all we suffer. He knew hunger, ridicule, shame. He faced temptation and trial. Ultimately, the sacrifice of Christ on the cross enables God to wrap you in his arms of love because he allowed his Son to pay the price for our sin.
Martin Luther grasped this in a time when the church was aloof and set apart from the average person. Eric Metaxas writes:
Luther saw in this the very essence of Christian theology. God reached down not halfway to meet us in our vileness but all the way down, to the foul dregs of our broken humanity…This was the ultimate antithesis to the gold and bejeweled splendor of papal Rome.Eric Metaxas, Martin Luther.
He understood what the writer of Hebrews shared about our high priest, Jesus:
What a comfort to worship a God who understands our struggles, our weaknesses, and our failures. Though I revere him, I don’t have to be afraid of him, because he suffers with me.
The world needs to know this God who understands our pain.
Grace and Peace