For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. Hebrews 4:15 NIV
I recently went through a long season of loss and difficulty. Some days I was more hope-filled than others. And some days I could hardly make it through without a complaint on my lips and tears overflowing from my eyes.
In reflection, I can easily point to what has helped me to emerge from these harsh days with much more hope than sadness and doubt. It is staying focused on Jesus and His empathizing presence that always remains alongside me.
The New International Version of Hebrews 4:15 uses the word “empathize” to describe Jesus’ actions. But I believe the Greek translation of this word offers a better and clearer picture of what exactly Jesus does—He “suffers alongside” us. To me, that description takes the concept of empathy to a whole new and amazing level. It means that Jesus not only understands and feels what I feel in my sufferings, but He suffers along with me in my pain.
I can just imagine Jesus sidling up alongside me when I hurt—putting His holy arms around me to cry with me. He hurts for what hurts me.
He does the same for you.
I don’t know about you, but the truth that Jesus is that close and concerned about what stabs and weighs down my heart wins and warms my heart like no other encouragement could. It raises me out of the pit of despair I’ve fallen into and reminds me that I am never alone in this life. It doesn’t matter how bleak or painful my life or situation might be—with Jesus I never suffer alone.
Consider these important and clarifying questions …
How aware and trusting are you that Jesus is suffering alongside you?
How would embracing this truth and reality transform your perspective and hope in Him today?
A Personal Focus and Challenge
Quite frankly, my current situation has not changed, but my perspective and focus surely has! Each moment that I feel the pain striking deep, I’ve made a commitment to focus on Jesus empathizing with me—suffering alongside me. It is in these moments that I’m committed to rejoicing that I have an intimate Companion and Comforter, who not only knows my pain, but longs to comfort me in it as well.
These are precious moments I would never exchange for any happy and carefree moment without Him.
Maybe you’re going through a season of loss and pain too. My hope is that you won’t fall for the lie that you are all alone in this season of suffering. In fact, I hope you’ll consider joining me in focusing on Christ, our great High Priest—remembering, in painful moments, that He always suffers alongside you and me in our pain.