We are told that the times during the Tribulation will become increasingly loveless (Matthew 24:12). They are turning cold even now. Many people tell me they are experiencing it or sense it. As the times become more cold, and love ekes away, many people may find they are searching for warmth.
Isaiah 53:3 says “He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering.” Recently I was thinking of when He was alone in the Garden and everyone fell asleep even though He had asked for company. And later, how Peter said he didn’t know Him, denying Jesus three times. That had to have hurt. I thought about the universe’s most ultimate betrayal, Judas. I thought of Jesus saying to Judas, “What you must do, do quickly.” (John 13:27).
You see, Jesus KNEW Judas was going to betray Him, but He loved Judas perfectly anyway. That is a powerful model of love. If I knew I was going to be betrayed and rejected ahead of time, would I love the people all the same? I’m human but sinful and Jesus was human and sinless. Therefore I know I would not.
Jesus came to earth SO THAT He could feel these things with us. Did you know that? We rightly focus on the salvation aspect of His time on earth and His sacrifice as the Lamb. But did you know that He is not only Messiah, but also High Priest? He was fully God and fully Man and He came to feel every emotion that we feel.
Hebrews 2:17-18 says “For this reason he had to be made like his brothers in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that he might make atonement for the sins of the people. Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.”
He is the most faithful High Priest, not only to save us but to sympathize with us!
Now let that stop us for a moment. The God of the Universe poured Himself into human skin to live a full life, so that He could save us by dying, but before that, to feel what we feel as we are tempted. When you are feeling lost, lonely, sad, rejected, tempted, betrayed, angry, bitter, or anything else, remember, that when we pray to Him, He is there. He knows. When we feel betrayed, He knows. He has been there. He serves God as our High Priest, interceding for us in a way that is fully empathetic. He is God, yet He came to us as fully human this so He could empathize with us in our times of sorrow. Are you not floored by knowing this?
Know this also, Psalm 56:8b- “Put my tears into Your bottle; Are they not in Your book?” He not only numbers the hairs on your head but sees and knows every tear shed in His name.
Psalm 34:18- “The LORD is near to the brokenhearted And saves those who are crushed in spirit.” So, just knowing He WILL do it, helps us until He does it. That is faith.
Many people tell me they feel lost inside their own church. American churches are infested with goats, and the sheep are squeezed out. They cry for a good, solid place to worship. They cry because they have been hurt. They cry because their workplace is cold, or they are mocked at school for being a born again believer, or marginalized from their unbelieving family. The dividing lines are widening, you see, in churches, at work, in homes…
Luke 12:52-53; “for from now on five members in one household will be divided, three against two and two against three. “They will be divided, father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law.” As the times grow closer to when He calls the Bride to Himself, the dividing lines will deepen. Division is a natural part of belief- if the truth is central. It will happen, but it still makes us sad.
This from Revelation 21:4 “And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.” Your face may be wet today, but he will dry it Himself on that Day! Isn’t it worth the wait, and the tears, just knowing He will fulfill His promise to wipe them away with His own hand? If your tears feel large to you today, just imagine how small they will be when His hand erases them into oblivion and gives you perfect peace.
And finally, remember the Love chapter from 1 Corinthians 13. Love bears all things. Love means we have to open ourselves to people and love them, even knowing that rejection, betrayal, sadness and hurt will come along with that. We don’t like it, but Jesus said to choose this kind of love as an expression of the Gospel He came to proclaim. His hurt and betrayal was so monstrous, how can we then complain of ours? We cannot. Begin praying for others. Pray for missionaries in places where their mission will bring them death. Converts in the dangerous places where their faith may bring them imprisonment or worse. Praying for others in worse circumstances helps us put our things into perspective; HIS perspective.
The key is to focus on Jesus. He is the lens through which all trials are put into proportion. He gives comfort and He gives a Kingdom perspective, of eternity. Prayer helps and prayer works, because the Spirit brings to mind his Word, and his Word is always the triumph over all. Why? It is the greatest love letter ever written, and relying on it through submission to and by the strength of the Spirit revives even the poorest, saddest child of Jesus.
Hebrews 12:28-29 says “Therefore, since we receive a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us show gratitude, by which we may offer to God an acceptable service with reverence and awe; for our God is a consuming fire.”
And so the Word revives us. He promises us the unshakable kingdom. There will not be any cracks. There will not be any quakes. There will not be any shocks. There will not be anything interrupting the joy He has promised to deliver. We show Him gratitude in advance of this promise of inheritance through faithful service, letting the sadness we may feel diminish because after all, it is only temporary. He is a fire of wrath for the ungodly but a fire of zeal and eternal love for the believer. Therefore let the Man of Sorrows comfort you in your sorrow. You will find the more you rely on Him to minister to you as High Priest, the more joy you will end up experiencing!