February 26, 2021
For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. 16 Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
I heard a few laments this week about our new sermon series: “Oh, great! We have six weeks of Job leading up to Easter!” They were spoken with smiles, but, I think, only half-joking. There’s something about us that just doesn’t like the topic of going through tough times, even if they’re someone else’s problems, like Job’s!
We humans are funny creatures. We’re like water: we prefer the path of least resistance if given the choice. Even when we know in our hearts that tough times are good for us and make us stronger, virtually none of us welcome them. But that’s not hard to understand – tough times just aren’t fun! Seriously, who would choose that?
But difficult times do two unbelievably important things for us. First, they teach us to trust God, and not just in words, but in reality. When God orchestrates our circumstances and gets us past difficulties, and when we see Him actually doing things in our world around us on our behalf, we learn that He is indeed there, He loves us abundantly, and He will really and truly bring us out of the ashes of our difficulties. Sometimes we may not see the resolution right away, but God always comes through for his children. Always.
Second, difficult times teach us how to empathize like God does. No matter how hard we try to understand, we will never really know what it’s really like to go through someone’s difficulties until we’ve gone through them ourselves.
Growing up I always thought people with depression just needed to get a better attitude. I never said that out loud, but that’s what I thought. It was not until I experienced my own depression as an adult when I truly understood. No matter how hard I tried, I simply could not make my attitude better! I literally could not “just get over it!” And suddenly, I understood what others go through.
That’s one of the reasons Jesus came to earth, to experience what we experience. To walk in our shoes. To know the pain and sadness we know. What an amazing comfort to have a Savior who knows what it’s like to be us!
What pain and darkness has God taken you though in your life? What have you learned through those experiences, and how might you comfort others who are going through those same kinds of challenges? Ask God today to open your eyes to the pain of others around you in a new way. He might just show you someone He’s been preparing you to meet for a long time.