“He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” – Psalm 147:3 (NIV)
Life is not easy. It is hard. Shall I say that again? Life is hard.
God understands that. That’s why He sent Jesus.
Not only did God send Jesus to us, but there is a message in the way He sent Him. Think about it. Jesus was born to young parents of meager circumstances. He was the son of a carpenter. Born to a blue-collar family, hard working people with little to show for it at the end of the day. God could have sent His only Son to a palace filled with luxury, servants at His beck and call. Instead, He sent Him to a lowly manger.
Why? Have you ever stopped to think about it? Why? Why did God choose to send Jesus into such challenging circumstances? He could have made it easy. He’s the God of the universe. He can do anything. So why did God send His son, Jesus, to earth directly into a life full of difficult challenges? Perhaps, because He wants us to understand that He understands. He wants us to know that He gets it. He sees our pain. He sees our suffering. Perhaps He wants us to know that the hardships and challenges of our lives are not lost on Him.
After all, Jesus saw it all first-hand. He walked a hard road in His short earthly life. He wandered on foot from place to place, no comfortable home to return to each night. He hung out with those the world had shunned. He befriended the lost. He remembered the forgotten. He touched the unclean, healing their wounds. He had compassion for the blind, restoring their sight. He saw the torture in the eyes of the lame, the sick, the possessed. He healed them all. He was barraged with sadness at every turn. Yet, He did not run from it. He stayed and walked that hard road with them.
If Jesus’ life wasn’t challenging enough, then surely His death was. It didn’t have to be that way. The God of the universe could have made the end of Jesus’ life easy, forgave us all with a wave of His hand and a proclamation. But He didn’t.
In those last days on earth, Jesus suffered the full gamut of life’s trials. He suffered betrayal, loss, despair, scorn, ridicule, abuse, violence, torture. He even had to carry His own cross. As if all that other stuff was not enough, He had to carry His own cross.
Why I ask? Why did God choose to do it this way? Perhaps, because He wants us to know that He understands suffering. He understands shame. He understands the pain of betrayal, the ache of loss. He gets it.
Perhaps Jesus’ life on earth was meant to be a timeless reminder that He has walked life’s toughest roads, experiencing all the struggles we face and more. Perhaps God wants us to know that He’s not done yet. Perhaps He wants us to know that He is still walking those roads beside you, beside me. He walks with us in our suffering, in our pain.
Though He could, God does not always deliver us from the trials of life. God sometimes allows suffering, just like He allowed Jesus to suffer. It’s impossible for us to fully understand why the bad things of life have to happen. All we can know is that we live in a sinful and fallen world, a world where things go wrong, a world where bad things happen, sometimes, to good people. It is a harsh world where we are drawn to bad choices and pay devastating consequences. We will not know the answer to “Why?” on this side of heaven.
Yet, as we look at Jesus’ life and its challenging circumstances, we can know that God fully understands our realities. He understands the struggles we face. He has lived it. He has walked this hard road before, and, he walks it with us now. He will never leave us, nor will He forsake us (Hebrews 13:5). He has promised that. He loves us beyond measure. He walks through this hard life with us, always by our side. He gets it.
“But he was pierced for our rebellion, crushed for our sins. He was beaten so we could be whole. He was whipped so we could be healed.” – Isaiah 53:5 (NLT)