Wednesday, July 11, 2012

God Of Empathy by Martin Wiles

I said it but immediately knew I shouldn’t have even though I was sincere when I said it: “I know how you feel.” How could I? I’d never experienced it, and even if I had mine was different than theirs.

Death, loss, tragedy, disease. When those close to us face it, we automatically say we know how they feel even when we don’t. The statement reflects our human need to empathize with others; to enter into their experience and show them we care. And when we undergo a troubling episode, we want others to return the favor.

God designated priests to mediate for people during the Old Testament period. If they committed a sin or disobeyed God, they confessed to the priest, brought a sacrifice and he interceded for them. But I doubt the people felt God truly identified with them. After all, he was up there and they were down below. He was perfect and they weren’t.

But God understood their predicament. And he does ours. A heavenly priest can understand what an earthly one can’t. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses (Hebrews 4:15).

God through Jesus walked in our shoes. He experienced physical limitations, struggled with temptation, suffered abuse, got stabbed in the back by friends, was misunderstood and experienced the dangers associated with popularity when it comes from misguided
followers.

God empathizes with our life experiences; the good, bad and ugly. He wants to enter into them with us, walk with us through them and empower us to grow spiritually and emotionally through them. We are never alone and never misunderstood. Are you inviting God into the details of your life?

Prayer: Father, empower us to invite You into our life journey.