Spiritual Growth

He Sympathizes with You

Jesus wept.  The shortest and one of the most poignant verses in scripture reveals the heart of God.  “If you have seen me, you have seen the Father,” Jesus said.  God weeps with compassion for people He loves who are mourning and bereft. The very heart of God breaks with us when we are brokenhearted. 

How about you?

… as you stand in this trial with a husband who is cold or bitter or who can’t seem to stop looking at women on the internet or hiding the fact that he does? 

… as you face the diagnosis of your own illness, or your spouse’s or child’s – or even worse – the lack of diagnosis for all that is going wrong? 

… as you feel lonely and ache in secret places of your heart, feeling certain that others have it way better than you do, wishing for even one true friend you could turn to in your pain? 

… when you get on the scale one more time, using numbers to measure your worth, yet somehow never feeling you truly measure up? 

… when your grown child, the one you poured your very life into, turns to drugs or drinking and becomes a slave to substance and seems lost beyond hope? 

Do you remember those two words: “Jesus wept”? 

When trials hit us – and they hit hard – we can succumb to spiritual amnesia.  The pain of our circumstance overwhelms us so that we lose sight of what we know – the fact that we have a Great High Priest who sympathizes.  In the King James it says, He is “touched with our infirmities.”  Going into the Greek it gets even richer.   Our infirmities are the places we are weak and lack the strength to understand a thing; to do things great and glorious; to restrain corrupt desires; to bear trials and troubles.  

darkness on horizon

When you find yourself in those empty and hurting places, what do you picture God’s response to be to you?  He is touched.  Literally (Greek girl here) “touched” means to have the same feeling as we do and to have compassion on us.  When we are weak He feels it with us.

As a father has compassion on his children,
so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him;
for he knows how we are formed,
he remembers that we are dust. 

He’s not expecting us to pull ourselves up by our bootstraps and get on with living.  He is feeling the pain of our situation with us and He has sympathy and care for us in our circumstances. 

I know what it’s like to be at the end of a rope.  I have experienced pits of despair, wondering which end is up.  I’ve been blindsided by traumas and overcome by betrayal.  I’ve lost loved ones and watched people I care about make destructive choices.  I’ve walked on the dark side and tasted all its attendant suffering. 

In the darkest places where not one ounce of light can be seen, if you light one single candle, that light will overcome the darkness.  A small flame can be seen by the human eye for 30 miles in pitch darkness.  It is the nature of light to overcome darkness. 

In Him was light and that light was the life of men.  The light shone into the darkness and the darkness could not comprehend it. 

Does your current darkness feel black as pitch?  Does it stretch out around you like endless night so that you have lost all hope of living in joy or peace?  God knows.  He weeps and has compassion.  He feels it with you. 

Nothing you are enduring can snuff out the light of God in you nor the love of God for you. 

For You will light my candle: the LORD my God will enlighten my darkness.

candle in darkMy tendency for years was to run from God when I was not doing well.  I hid myself from Him, had a hard time praying and often couldn’t make myself pick up the Word.  Thankfully, in each of those seasons, God sent someone to hold me up when I was too weak to hang on myself.  Certain treasured women had a surrogate faith for me when I couldn’t muster my own.  I held onto them and they held onto God for me. 

Leaning on the faith of a sister isn’t a long-term answer.  We all must learn to endure our hardships while keeping our faith.  Still, God provides us to one another for times like these.  He tells us to bear one another’s burdens and thereby fulfill the law of Christ.  Those sweet women were God’s grace to me.  He knew how He would prove His love to me through them as they were the hands and feet extending it on His behalf.  I was a Christian and I knew Him.  What I lacked in those years was enough trust in Him and His goodness.  I had saving faith, but not living faith. 


I needed time to heal.  I had such distortions of God and His expectations of me that He didn’t feel safe in my most vulnerable times.  He was so patient with me – and still is – as I inched my way towards Him (much like a stray dog who has been kicked one too many times to trust the gentle, outstretched hand of a good master).  He waited for me and showed me His faithfulness, trial after trial until I could learn to run towards Him instead of shutting down and attempting to solve my own problems without Him. 

In my distress I called upon the LORD, and cried unto my God: he heard my voice out of his temple, and my cry came before him, even into his ears.

My cry goes into His ears.  More than that, it goes into His very heart.  Your cries are not empty, lonely, unheard.  God hears you and He weeps with you.  Draw near to Him and He will draw near to you.  I pray you come to call your trial a bittersweet experience.  It is bitter for the pain, but all the sweeter because of God’s intimate, specific love and care for you in this time.  

If you would like prayer, please let me know in the comments or on my Hearts Homeward Facebook Page.   

This post is for the hurting.  If you happen to be in a season of sunshine, rejoicing in the goodness of God, maybe you can look around your horizon and see those who are experiencing some darker days.  If they need this word of encouragement, please pass it on, or find another way to show them they aren’t as alone as they may feel right now. 

photos courtesy of Unsplash.com

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  • Reply
    Michelle Waldrip
    February 1, 2016 at 10:06 AM

    I love God’s blessing of “kindred spirits” [I saw on FB that you’re an Anne Shirley fan 🙂 ]. You’ve expressed some of my own thoughts on this so eloquently. I particularly loved the part about being borne up by the faith of another in a time when one is too weak to stand firm in one’s own faith. I know there have been people like that for me. And how great is God’s love, that he cares for us in the first place, and then despite our shortcomings in trust and reciprocation of love! Thanks again for sharing your heart, Patty!

    • Reply
      February 1, 2016 at 12:07 PM

      Thanks, Michelle. It is a great gift – his patience, his bending towards us in love, his provision when we can’t adequately respond to him as we wish we could … all of it grace upon grace. Thanks for reflecting on this with your thoughts. I love hearing from you.

      • Reply
        March 13, 2016 at 6:49 AM

        Marilyn I need prayers thank you

        • Reply
          March 13, 2016 at 7:53 AM

          I’m praying for you right now. I pray you find comfort during whatever you are facing. I pray you can keep your eyes above the difficulty and fixed on Him. I pray that whatever you endure will bring about character and that character will bring you to a greater hope in our God who does not disappoint us when we hope in Him.

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