Undoubtedly there are reasonable objections against God and the wonders through which He often works. One grievance that has no bearing however, is that of Him being unable to relate to us.
If we fail to get God, it’s understandable. God is insurmountable. His nature is infinite. With no beginning or end, He thwarts our attempts to place Him onto an atlas. But why do we find that to be a reason for retreat? Think about it. Do you stand on the shores of the Pacific, grumbling about the inability to see to the other side? Doubtful. Do you stare up at the stars, booing them because you cannot see all of them at the same time? Probably not. Do you file a complaint every time your spouse acts mysterious? Don’t answer that.
Make no mistake, God’s immensity is frustrating. It should be. Frustration is our knee-jerk reaction when something doesn’t make sense to us. His ways are upsetting. They should be. Like the star-filled heavens are higher than the earth, His ways are higher than our ways. If you’re not occasionally agitated by the persona of God, I’d encourage you to double check what god you’re following. Feeling perplexed is often an indication you are proximate to the Maker of the universe. Soak it up. Let it sink in.
Yet while our minds struggle to Geta grip on God, God is no stranger to our struggling humanity.
As if stepping down from His seat in heavenly perfection wasn’t enough, Jesus emphasized his message of empathy by stepping into our sin-scarred world and our bound-to-breakdown body. A bit backwards, if you ask me. God makes man for relationship. Man sins by rebelling against God. God’s solution for the curse of sin involves being born a man. I would have chosen a different route for redemption, but God seems to think how you say something is equally as important as what you say.
When His sympathy could have been same-day delivered to our doorstep, Jesus journeyed through thirty-three years of being us instead. He embraced our awkward adolescence. He dove head first into family drama. He was taken advantage of by the thousands of people he fed. He was refuted, ridiculed and reduced to “being insane.” He was backstabbed by one of his best friends. He was abandoned by those who swore they never would. All of that to hand-deliver this memo: I get you.
If you’re like me, you need to read that again, except this time, make it personal: He gets me. He understands me. He’s not put off by my mistakes. He’s not shocked by my sin. He’s not shaking his head in disgust. He gets me. Jesus doesn’t flinch at the sight of my shortcomings, nor does He freak out at the glimpse of my failures. No, He immediately leans in.
Still wrestling to believe this outlandish form of empathy exists? Then look to the leper whom Jesus healed in Matthew chapter eight. Be sure to check out the way Jesus chose to heal the leper. In verse three, Matthew recorded, “Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man.”
When a word from Jesus would have gotten the job done, when one look from Jesus would have done the trick, Jesus elected to lean in and touch the leper.
I can’t help but wonder how the leper’s life changed after that moment. I can’t help but wonder how the first breath of freedom must have felt. Freedom to be with his family. Freedom to be with his friends. Freedom to walk throughout the marketplace without having to yell, “Unclean! Unclean!” Freedom to move back into the city. Freedom to put on a fresh set of clothes.
Freedom to live the rest of his life knowing: Jesus reached out and touched him when he was still a leper.
I know what you’re thinking, “But that was his story.” You’re right. So, here is ours.
But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8
There’s your freedom. Therein lies my freedom too. Freedom to live the rest of our lives knowing Jesus became one of us in order to empathize with all of us. Freedom to move forward knowing Jesus walked among us in order to connect to us. Freedom to be bold. Freedom to be brave. Freedom to confidently approach His presence just as we are, because when we were still sinners, when we were still stuck, Jesus leaned in and chose to love.
Together, let’s wonder at how our lives can change after this moment. The moment when we realized: He’s got us and He gets us.
TEXT: HEBREWS 4 | MATTHEW 8 | ROMANS 5