Fellowship of Your Suffering

I recently came across this teaching letter I had written as a 19-year-old. Asking my dad, a pastor, to proof it for me, I had no idea how much it would impact him. I had sensed a strong nudge to write it. It seemed that the words weren’t coming from me but were flowing through me by the Holy Spirit. It seemed a strange topic for a 19-year-old, who had never been married or betrayed, to cover. Here is what I handed to him:

You don’t think God knows what it’s like to be divorced? You say, “Well, how can He have been through everything? How can He have gone through what I’ve gone through? How can Hebrews 4:15 be true?”

For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.

Don’t be foolish. Jesus knows every pain. He experienced the deepest hurt. He was divorced from God! He was betrayed by His closest companions. 

You say, “How so? Can you prove it with Scripture?” Most certainly!

Jesus was betrayed by His own treasurer – a man He called, “Friend,” (Matt. 26:50). He knew what Judas would do, yet He allowed him to stay, He allowed him to find Him in the garden, and He allowed Judas to identify Him. Jesus knows betrayal. 

Look at how He reacted though. He healed one of His arrestors. His whole staff fled – His closest earthly friends deserted Him. 

He didn’t curse them. He knew they would run. These are men He poured His whole life into. 

These are the men He opened up to and taught them the things He knew. He gave His anointing to them. He put them in charge of His ministry. 

They fled in His darkest hour. He didn’t give up. He didn’t fall down and quit. He went on in the darkest hour of His life, alone, to finish the call of God on His life. 

You may be thinking, “Yeah, okay, maybe so, but ‘divorced from God?!’ Isn’t that taking it a little far?”

In John 10:30, Jesus declares, “I and My Father are one.”

He was one with God. His whole dependency was on God. His whole life was centered and focused on God. 

Yet when Jesus became sin, when all the sin of the whole world was placed upon His shoulders, He was torn from God! He was ripped apart from the very Being He had always been one with.

It caused Him such great pain that in the midst of all the shame He was enduring (the shame of the process of crucifixion; Heb. 6:6, Mk. 15:22-34, 14:64-65), naked and destitute, He hollered at the top of His lungs, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?!” 

I’m sure if He had strength enough left, sobs racked His body at that moment. Oh, the torture of being forcefully torn from the One You love most!

“My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?! Why have You left Me alone, destitute,  naked, friendless, empty, cursed, sinful, in pain, travail, and weakness? Why have You taken flight and fled from Me in My darkest hour? All My earthly friends have left Me. Must You do the same?!”

Jesus knows the pain of divorce. Jesus knows the anxiety, the terror of betrayal. He had an idea of what it would be like before it happened. Why else would He have prayed His prayer of travail in the Garden of Gethsemane (Mk. 14:32-36, 39, 41, 42)? It was on Him so heavily that He asked not just once but three times if there was possibly any other way.

Still, He came away from that earnest prayer knowing that it could not be so. There would be no other way, but with peace He faced the torment that was set before Him. He went through all of that, so He could identify with you! His pain was worse than anything we could ever experience. He promised He would never leave us nor forsake us.

All people in the world may desert us, but we always have God. We may become so lonely, so very lonely on this earth, but we are never alone. We are never alone. 

Our God is always with us. Jesus is on the right hand of the Father, making intercession for us, for He identifies with the feeling of our infirmity. The Holy Ghost is in us to comfort us and teach us how to treat the situation. The Holy Ghost is here to guide us and to show us things to come, so we can prepare ourselves and, if possible, avoid unnecessary hurt and harm.