It’s funny, isn’t it, how people and places can affect us so much–how they can get into our hearts in ways we don’t really realize? My tears flowed freely as my husband and I drove away from the lovely autumn colors of the rural Kentucky hills and “hollers”. Just days before we left Kentucky, where I had lived for 9 years, we left my family in Alabama. I’m sure, like me, that you’ve experienced tearful goodbyes.
We are headed back to the plains of the second coldest state in the union, North Dakota. Don’t get me wrong, there are things I like about North Dakota, but the cold weather and treeless landscape are not among those things. I appreciate the farm and ranch mindset (with all the horses) and the honest work ethic and loyalty of the mostly German people of the prairie. I’ve made some wonderful friends in the Dakotas that I will hang on to. But for a southern girl, it’s really tough to weather -30F and 40 mph winds. Not to mention being so far from family and old friends. Mostly I try not to think about it, but at times it gets the best of me. But this experience reminds me of the opportunity to look to Jesus.
As my thoughts run wild and my emotions deep, a quiet Voice speaks to my heart. What about Jesus? “What about Jesus?”, I asked myself, as I began to reflect on His experience. In Hebrews 2:14 it says, “Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, He also Himself likewise took part of the same.” And in the fourth chapter it says, “For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmity, but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.”
He, also, Himself, likewise! How emphatic! “…”Touched with the feeling of our infirmity…” These words should paint a graphic picture of Jesus in our minds, and a very touchingly human one. We really don’t grasp this. I know we don’t because if we did, we would be very different people. We need to think about Jesus.
How many of us make concerted efforts to keep in touch with family and friends? We not only make phone calls, but we have email, text messages and Skype to fill the airways as we strive to stay connected. If a loved one is in some peril we beg all of our friends to pray for them (hoping they don’t do like we often do and forget).
I remember my mom telling me how hard it was not to hear from my dad when he was in Viet Nam. She could hardly bear to watch the evening news! Was he dead or alive? Was he injured…or a prisoner? I can only experience her story through second-hand emotion since I was a baby then. But I think this is why Jesus allows us to go through personal experiences. We need to understand not only other people, but other Person! We need to understand JESUS!
The Bible says that “…this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.” This same Jesus! The same Jesus Who became partaker of flesh and blood. The same Jesus Who is touched with the feeling of our infirmity. The same Jesus the disciples of old watched as He ascended: “As He passed upward, the awe-stricken disciples looked with straining eyes for the last glimpse of their ascending Lord.” DA 831. I wonder, how did HE feel as He ascended? Remembering the ache in my heart as I turned from my family to get in the car and drive away helps me to understand.
And what was it like for Jesus to even come to this earth? What did it mean to Him to leave behind the beauty and peace of heaven? We are told in 2 Testimony 201, “He endured struggles and torture of soul in a world of sin. His humanity made prayer a necessity and privilege. He required all the stronger divine support and comfort which His Father was ready to impart to Him, to Him who had, for the benefit of man, left the joys of heaven and chosen His home in a cold and thankless world. Christ found comfort and joy in communion with His Father. Here He could unburden His heart of the sorrows that were crushing Him. He was a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief.” (emphasis mine).
This same Jesus…when He walked the earth, was touched with the feeling of our infirmity. “…Mine iniquities have taken hold upon Me, so that I am not able to look up; they are more than the hairs of Mine head: therefore My heart faileth Me.” Psalm 40:12. “I said, LORD, be merciful unto Me: heal My soul; for I have sinned against thee.” Psalm 41:4. Read these chapters in their entirety and you will see…this is Jesus! So closely was He identified with us that, as our Sin Bearer, He felt guilty! He felt like HE had sinned against the Father. The Perfect One felt vile so I could feel free!!! Can a situation more “unfair” be imagined?
I find I must say with Job, “Behold, I am vile; what shall I answer thee? I will lay mine hand upon my mouth.” Job 40:4. What more complaint can I offer of situations I face when I consider this same Jesus?