Inspired by Hebrews 2:10-18
“Because he himself was tested by what he suffered, he is able to help those who are being tested.” Hebrews 2:18 (NRSV)
Our lives are comprised of a series of moments. Most of them are unremarkable. Some of them bring us greater joy than we ever dreamed possible. And some of them are so difficult that they seem to last forever, and we can’t imagine that we’ll ever experience anything but misery ever again. The idea of a loving God seems ridiculous, for no God who makes his people suffer this much could be loving.
God does not make his people suffer. He does not cause illness or disaster, war or oppression. Fallen humanity is responsible for some of it and fallen creation is responsible for the rest. And what did our loving God do when he saw our desperate plight? He became one of us and suffered along with us.
When God in heaven took on flesh and became human, he brought the human experience into the divine realm forever. When we cry out in our suffering, we’re not crying out to some distant, untouchable, unmovable observer; we’re crying out to one who’s been there. We’re crying out to one who has felt the grief of a loved one’s death, who has suffered hunger and want, who has been betrayed by a friend. We’re crying out to one who has suffered the worst brutality and physical torture humanity has to offer. We’re crying out to one who prayed to be spared his fate, and who felt abandoned by God himself in his own darkest hour. We’re crying out to one who had his life snuffed out, and then who defeated death forever.
Human life includes hardships, and God does not demonstrate his love by sparing us the more difficult aspects of living. God demonstrates his love by sharing our hardships with us, by being present with us when all others would flee in terror, and by assuring us that he will be with us through our current misery and into the glory to come.
Let us pray. Compassionate God, through your Son you have personally experienced human trials and tribulation. Help us to have confidence in your mercy and understanding, that we may cry to you for help no matter what we’re experiencing. Through Christ our Lord, Amen.