HEBREWS 5:7-8 (NIV) | “During the days of Jesus' life on earth, he offered up prayers and petitions with loud cries and tears to the one who could save Him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission. Although He was a Son, He learned obedience from what He suffered…”
As a little girl, I dreamed of becoming a mommy. My favorite pastime was pretending my dollies were my children, but four decades later—still unmarried and without kids—I found my hopes of ever becoming a mother fading with my childbearing years. Then one night as I was leaving a group of friends who were all married (as usual), I felt hot, angry tears erupting from within because of accumulated hurts and disappointments. Feeling powerless to change my situation, I spoke honestly to God: "Lord, I don't like the way my life turned out, and I am very disappointed with. . .YOU!"
In the silence I heard these words: “I’m a Man of sorrows, acquainted with grief.”
My crying stopped abruptly. I listened carefully as Jesus seemed to say, "My life was filled with undesirable circumstances, too; I understand your pain more than you know.” In the stillness, this alternate viewpoint slowly unfolded:
Since the Fall, the world has been polluted with sin, thus we are all born into “Plan B”—Jesus included. Yet our Man of Sorrows willingly came into this fallen world—even though He is God the Son—so that we might escape Plan B’s curse everyday…a curse that was never His desire. He did not design me (or any of His children) to experience broken-heartedness due to the fall—a consequence that’s affected Him, too. Yet while He could have closed His eyes to our suffering (and chalked it up to our own bad choices), instead He came near. Now every time we hurt, He hurts. Like a loving, committed parent, God feels the pain of His children, and each person who causes me pain causes Him pain as well. Throughout my lifetime, the Lord has not been distant or detached, nor has He been the cause of my difficulties. He grieves when people hurt one another, yet He comes into the midst of our heartaches, allowing the effects of a “world-gone-mad without God” to also touch Him.
Jesus could have reprimanded me that night with: “Myra, you’re so ungrateful. Haven’t I blessed you in other ways?” But He didn’t correct me. Instead, He entered into my pain and showed me that He understood because He’s suffered as well—yet through it learned obedience. In the Greek, the word obedience means to listen, understand, and heed. Jesus learned to listen to Abba and heed His words…no matter what. Now, as our Man of Sorrows, He is attuned to our pain, continually interceding and welcoming our authentic, heartfelt words, even when they come through loud cries and tears. He shows us how to listen, understand, and heed the Father just as He did—this One who came to live with us so that we might live with Him forever.
REFLECT AND RESPOND
- As you focus upon the life of Christ during Lent, what are you going through that you need to honestly offer up to Abba with prayers, petitions, loud cries, and tears?
- Although you are God's child, how is He asking you to learn obedience by listening, understanding, and heeding His voice today?
- As you tell Jesus what’s really on your heart and mind, pause now to let Him share His perspective, offering you the comfort of His presence today…right in the midst of your pain.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Myra Perrine and her husband, Dan, live in Redding, CA. With a passion for intimacy with God, Myra holds a Doctor of Ministry in Spiritual Formation. She has worked with CRM since 1996 coaching leaders around the world, and is the author of several books: What’s Your God Language? Connecting with God Through Your Unique Spiritual Temperament (Tyndale, 2008), What’s Your God Language? Coaching Guide, A Companion Workbook of Spiritual Exercises for What’s Your God Language? and Becoming One: Nurturing Spiritual Intimacy in Marriage.
This piece was originally published in CRM's 2010 Lent Devotional.