Sometimes life feels easy. Things are going well, we are happy, and we easily affirm the truth that God has blessed us richly. In these times, we can almost forget that we’re laboring under a curse that began in a Garden thousands of years ago. Sometimes.
But many times—most times?—life is not so pleasant.
It’s been one of those seasons in my life. A death in the family, friends who are hurting for various reasons, frustrations, wayward loved ones, church family members struggling with infertility…the list goes on. I do not question the goodness of God in times like these, but still I feel the weight of the Fall, and I ache.
Everything around us tells us that things weren’t supposed to be this way. We know this every time a mother buries her child, a friend suffers from illness, or we experience the pain of rejection. We know this when our children hurt because we have spoken harshly, or when our marriage suffers because we have served ourselves above our spouses. We can’t escape the effects of the Fall.
Others may offer answers like, “God is in control,” or, “You just need to have faith.” I certainly believe in the providence of God and the importance of trusting Him through difficult times. But sometimes I wonder if we say those things because we truly believe them, or because we just don’t know what else to say.
Sometimes, when in our frailty we are suffering, we need to remember not just that God is all-powerful, but also that He is personal.
We serve a God who not only created all humanity, but wept over the death of just one of those humans, His friend Lazarus. We all know John 11:35: “Jesus wept.” We’ve probably all heard sermons on this, the shortest verse of the Bible. But in our familiarity with it, let’s not forget its significance. Jesus—God incarnate—wept because of the death of one person whom He had created. He had created Lazarus and He knew He would raise him from the dead. And yet, being fully human, He also experienced loss and grief as we do. Jesus understood the effects of the Fall because in taking on human flesh, they affected Him, too.
Hebrews 4:15 says that “we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses.” Jesus, who wore this flesh with all its limitations and frailties, knows grief, pain, loss, and rejection.
So if you are groaning with all creation under the burden of a fallen world, know that yes, God is good and sovereign and trustworthy, but also that He is able to sympathize. He doesn’t just see the future when He will return for His Bride and all will be right, but He aches in the present when all is not right. If you feel the effects of living in a world tainted by sin, I pray you can remember that though He was without sin Himself, He felt those effects when He lived among us, too. He has lost friends. He has felt physical pain. He has grieved. He has been rejected.
Our great High Priest is able to sympathize.