The God Who Shares Your Pain

“God-with-us” is our best and deepest comfort
Matthew 1:21-23; John 1:1-14

Read (Matthew 1:22-23) All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: “The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” – which means, “God with us”.

Comprehend We have lost the simple but difficult gift of being present to each other. We say, “Why should I visit this person? I can’t do anything anyway. I don’t even have anything to say. Of what use can I be? We have forgotten that it is often in “useless,” unpretentious, humble
presence to each other that we feel consolation and comfort. Simply being with someone is difficult because it asks that we share in other’s vulnerability, enter with him or her into the experience of weakness and powerlessness, become part of uncertainty, and give up control and self determination. And still, whenever this happens, new strength and new hope are being born.
Those who offer us comfort and consolation by being and staying with us in moments of illness, mental anguish, or spiritual darkness often grow as close to us as those with whom we have biological ties. They show their solidarity with us by willingly entering the dark, uncharted spaces of our lives.
Likewise, God is a God-with-us, a God who cam to share our lives in solidarity. It does not mean that God solves our problems, shows us the way out of our confusion, or offers answers for our many questions. He might do all of that, but his solidarity consists in the fact that he is willing to enter into our problems, confusions, and questions.
That is the good new of God’s taking on human flesh.
As soon as we call God “God-with-us,” we enter into a new relationship of intimacy with him. By calling him Immanuel, we recognize that he has committed himself to live in solidarity with us, to share our joys and pains, to defend and protect us, and to suffer all of life with us. We will never really know God as a compassionate God if we do not understand with our heart and
mind that he lived among us (John 1:14). How do we know this as anything more than a beautiful idea? We know this because in Jesus, God’s compassion became visible to us. Jesus has embraced everything human with the infinite tenderness of his compassion.
--Henri J.M. Nouwen, Douglas A. Morrison, and Donald P. McNeil
From COMPASSION by Henri J.M. Nouwen, D. Morrison & P. McNeil