This devotional first appeared in https://www.islandsadventist.org
Scripture: Jesus understands every weakness of ours, because he was tempted in every way that we are. But he did not sin! So whenever we are in need, we should come bravely before the throne of our merciful God. There we will be treated with undeserved kindness, and we will find help. Hebrews 4:15-16 (CEV)
Observation: cannot be touched with the feeling of—Greek, “cannot sympathize with our infirmities”: our weaknesses, physical and moral (not sin, but liability to its assaults). He, though sinless, can sympathize with us sinners; His understanding more acutely perceived the forms of temptation than we who are weak can; His will repelled them as instantaneously as the fire does the drop of water cast into it. He, therefore, experimentally knew what power was needed to overcome temptations. He is capable of sympathizing, for He was at the same time tempted without sin, and yet truly tempted [BENGEL]. In Him alone we have an example suited to men of every character and under all circumstances. In sympathy He adapts himself to each, as if He had not merely taken on Him man’s nature in general, but also the peculiar nature of that single individual. [Jamieson, R., Fausset, A. R., & Brown, D. (1997). Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible (Heb 4:15). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.]
Application: I know that people mean well when they tell someone who has lost a loved one words like “I know how you feel.” What they mean is that they too have experienced a loss at some point in time and therefore they know what that experience is like. While they intend well by saying something that will help the other person feel better, the reality is that very few words, if any, will make a person in that situation feel better about their loss.
For any of us on the receiving end of such sentiments, we smile, we express appreciation, and deep inside we wish there was an answer to our pain, or that there was someone who was truly experiencing what we do and yet could remove our pain. At the same time, we sure don’t want the memories of our loved one gone and fear that if the pain goes away so will those memories. One of the things that parents who have lost children fear the most is that their children will be forgotten.
Our text for today reminds us that Jesus is the only one who can truly sympathize with us. In other words, He is the only one who can truly feel what we do. Now, while we know and understand that concept, it’s much easier to accept it and adopt it when things in life are going well. It is in the long run, when we are in the midst of the day-to-day pain and agony, that those words really make a difference and begin to bring the healing we desperately need.
In the meantime, your loving actions, your presence, your kindness toward the bereaved are more valuable and more important than any words you may say.
A Prayer You May Say: Father God, thank You because You are the only one who truly understands and feels our pain, and because You are the only one who can bring solace, comfort, and lasting peace to our lives in turmoil.
Used by permission of Adventist Family Ministries, North American Division of Seventh-day Adventists.