Having recently thought about suffering in this post, I have a subsequent, similarly themed musing to share…
As I said before, if ever thinking about how Jesus can sympathise with our troubles because of his humanity walking this earth, I hold those things at a distance. In my mind I picture how Jesus reminisces about pain and hurt from when he was on earth in a sort of ‘awk, don’t worry, I’ve been there, done that.. it’ll be okay’ kind of way, in a removed sort of way… Regardless of whether Darrell Johnson has it right (apparently there’s something to do with the ‘impassibility of God’ – you can check that out for yourself) or not, I’ve since discovered another way in which I’ve doubted the idea that Jesus knows how it feels to be human.
I’ve been thinking a bit recently about loneliness and how they can figure highly in various stages of life. I have felt them as I’m sure you have too on different occasions, and one of the things that pass through your head when you feel that way is that no-one else could possibly understand this particular sense of loneliness thus increasing the sense of being alone! It can be a fleeting thought or a deep-seated ache, a constant companion or an occasional visitor. It can come in the silence of solitude or in the noise of a crowd, it can catch you by surprise or be never far away. But most of us know what it feels like.
Just the other day I had an epiphany. I had removed Jesus from reality in that purely because he knew he would be rejected by towns worth of people, betrayed by one of his best friends and completely un-comprehended by people he lived with day-in, day-out for three years that it wasn’t the same as any hurt I experienced. Somehow, just because he knew it would happen, he was able to steel himself against it and it wouldn’t matter. That just because he knew it would be all right in the end, the pain didn’t really affect him. But, the realness of hurt that Jesus experienced in being rejected must have equalled that familiar twisting feeling you get in your gut, that shallow-breathed ache in your chest, that smothering weight on your shoulders that you get when it happens to you.
See, its very easy to forget that when Jesus comes back, it’ll all be okay in the end so we remind ourselves of it: singing certain songs, reading certain verses, repeating certain maxims… And that’s okay, that’s important. But I think that when it becomes a pick-me-up attempt, a mantra to forget then its the spiritual equivalent of putting a sticky plaster over a gaping wound.
When we forget that Jesus’s pain mirrors our own (and not just pretend-mirroring), we hold him and the truth of his love and healing at arm’s length. We need to allow each other and ourselves room to give dignity to the struggle.
Espero expresses this much better than I do, here.
Anyway, suffice to say – when you next feel very alone – Jesus felt exactly like that. Let that comfort you like never before.