Summary: This sermon addresses the issues of pain, and if God feels our pain.
Does God Feel Our Pain ?
I’m sure that the people of La, and Miss. have been on your mind this wk as they have mine. Yet, how can we possibly feel their pain. No matter how hard I try, I can’t imagine what those people have gone through, and are going through. One of the saddest stories that I have heard in the aftermath of the storm was the man who tried to cling to his wife, but couldn’t......and as his wife slipped away from his grasp.......she told him to take care of the kids ! The only way that I can genuinely feel that man’s pain is by being him. How then can God possibly know our suffering ? How can God genuinely feel our pain ?
Story: I once read about a King who really wanted to know his people, and feel what they felt. And so, he laid aside his royal robes put on some old work clothes, left his palace behind, and went and lived among the people !
This is how God is able to feel our pain. Our text tells us that Christ became lower than the angels........he became a man so that he might experience the suffering of humanity. Because he became a man he can be touched with the feelings of our infirmities(disease, sickness, weakness)
In the gospel of John 1......John describes how Jesus became a man.........."He became flesh, and dwelt among us !"
Hebrews 2:18 tells us in that he himself suffered temptation, he is able to succor(help) them that are tempted.
The prophet Isaiah wrote of Christ several hundred years before his birth, and describes him with these words......"He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: (malady, anxiety, calamity)
In describing how God became a man Dorothy Sayers writes in her book "Christian Letters To A Post-Christian World"
"The God who gave us the dignity of freedom of choice now takes upon himself the consequences of our wrong choices.
For whatever reason God chose to make people as they are - limited and suffering and subject to sorrows and death - he had the honesty and courage to take his own medicine. Whatever game he is playing with his creation, he has kept his own rules and played fair. He can exact nothing from us that he has not exacted from himself. He has himself gone through the whole human experience, from the trivial irritations of family life and the cramping restrictions of hard work and lack of money to the worst horrors of pain and humiliation, defeat, despair, and death. When he was man, he played the man. He was born in poverty and died in disgrace and thought it all worthwhile.
Standing somewhere in the shadows you’ll find Jesus;
He’s a friend who always cares and understands;
Standing somewhere in the shadows you will find him,
And you’ll know him by the nail prints in his hands.
During President Ronald Reagan’s presidential campaign in 1979, a woman of about 80 spoke out from the audience at the end of one of his campaign speeches. "Mr. Reagan, everything you’ve said sounds just fine. But what about the old folks? Haven’t you forgotten us?" The man who was to become the oldest president of the United States smiled down at her and replied, "Forget you? Heavens, how could I ever forget you? I am one of you."
Does God know our pain ? Yes he does because he became one of us !
Not only does he know our pain, but he experienced our pain first hand. If you look for Christ in the N.T. during his life, you will always find him among the hurting, the sick, the deprived, the destitute.......you will find him not where the pleasure is, but where the pain is.......you’ll find him at the side of lepers, and the lame.
Does God know our pain.......yes because............
I. You Will Find God In The Storms !
Several of the disciples were fisherman, they had much experience with storms......yet Matt 14 describes a time when the disciples were out on the Sea of Galilee when a storm arose......the ship was tossed by the waves, and the wind. The disciples were horrified. They had never before experienced such a storm.......but in the early hours of the morning........Christ came to them walking on the water !
Lisa Goertz was a Jewish lady who lost most of her family in the Nazi holocaust, including her mother, husband, brother, son and daughter. At one point, when 16 members of her family had disappeared, she decided to end it all. In her book, I Stepped into Freedom, she tells what happened:
I walked out into the night, feeble with hunger, half crazy with fear and fatigue, and made my way down to the river Neisse. In a few hours all would be over, I told myself. What a relief! And there it happened. Across the dark river I saw the Cross and Jesus Christ on it. His face was not the face of a victor; it was the face of a fellow-sufferer, full of love and understanding and compassion. We gazed at each other, both of us Jews, and then the vision disappeared.