It was a fine fall morning. She went out to move the car from the driveway to make room for garage sale customers. Suddenly the front door flew open and she fell inside, writhing in pain: “The car ran over me!”
We rushed to the hospital. Several x-rays later we were told our daughter was very fortunate. No broken bones, only massive bruises.
Later in the day, as I looked at her pale face and watched her limp, my own leg started to throb, in the same place, above the right knee. Friends chuckle yet tell me they too have felt sympathy pains for those they love. There is nothing wrong with me, I just ache where she aches, but she has all the bruises.
Now, as shock and fatigue subside, I have been thinking how may times I have felt sympathy pains. The same daughter went off a horse in a California desert, scooped up a handful of sand with her arm on the way down, and left it embedded for the emergency nurses to scrape out with a nylon brush. My arm burned too, right in the same spot.
Our oldest lost a ski half way down an icy hill in Alaska and turned one foot around backwards. He was in agony . . . and my leg ached with his.
When I was a teenager, my horse suffered a deep wire cut just above the hoof. You guessed it; my foot hurt too.
This week, when our family looked in the Psalms for comfort, we read: “As a father pities his children, so the LORD pities those who fear Him . . . ” Isaiah 63:9 says, “ . . . in their affliction, He was afflicted . . . ”
We were reminded that God not only feels for us, He shares our trials as well. He can do that because He knows just exactly what we go through: He lived in a human body too. “The Word (God) was made flesh and lived among us.”
Jesus was hungry, thirsty, tired, and tempted (but without sin). He knows exactly what pain feels like, exactly what grief and sorrow do to our hearts. Hebrews 4 says Jesus “was touched with the feeling of our infirmities.” Actually, He suffered more than any of us can imagine.
When Jesus left this earth, He did not stop feeling our troubles with us. In Acts 9, a man named Saul was persecuting Christians, throwing them in prison with death sentences. Finally, the risen Christ confronted him with this: “Why are you persecuting ME?”
Because His Spirit lives within those who trust Him, He is still right there when we hurt, sharing our pain, feeling great sympathy and compassion. When we experience the emotional sting of rejection or persecution for His sake, He also feels every taunting word, every whiplash, every assault received, just as if it had been laid on Him personally!
As I watch my daughter limp and my leg throbs in sympathy, I am joyfully reminded that Jesus does it better. Somehow, that makes the loads lighter, the tensions easier, even the aches a little more bearable.
We can lean on Him, whether we suffer from broken hopes or broken hearts, knowing that He knows just how we feel.