God’s own Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, was subjected to the heinous, and we are warned by the Lord, himself, that we will suffer the same persecution of soul — no servant is greater or more privileged than their master.
But through the trials of life that will swallow our souls whole, we do have the divine and magnificent empathy of the Lord; an identification of his suffering in ours.
God’s disciples are not theology students or missions graduates or people with a head full of jargon. God’s disciples are those who have experienced something of their Lord. Their suffering has some impression of their Lord’s suffering.
His Identification With Ours; Ours With His
Another word for empathy is identification. Our Lord identifies with us in our trials, just as we, for perhaps the first time, more truly identify with him.
He suffered so much, and, like very many traditions of sacrifice, we cannot fathom the enormity or the range of the pain our Lord endured — for each one of his.
The Lord will not allow us to be cast into the fire of our own incineration without due cause or true hope or good destiny. God will sponge up every concept of ours that our suffering is waste, and he will drench us with his very own perfections of blessing.
It is for this that he came into the world; to show the world how it should relate.
When we come around to the idea of relating with our world in the mode of brotherly and sisterly love — even to the point of sacrifice — then he has won the day for us.
Finally we are who we are!
We were created to be perfect, as the heavenly Father is perfect (Matthew 5:48). It is God’s intention that we be made perfect through the things we suffer. Only after having passed through the fire, having become our very own burnt offering so-to-speak, have we endured what is necessary for sinful humanity to endure in order to identify with our crushed and risen Lord.
No servant deserves better than their master. Our privilege is that we are not treated worse than Jesus, for Jesus set the gold standard for suffering, and nobody can attain to it. Yet, every martyr has died the same death. And every disciple is destined to be tried and tested.
Our Lord identifies with us in our trials, just as we, maybe for the first time, more truly identify with him. This is no insignificant fact. Feel his identification of empathy.
© 2015 S. J. Wickham.