A God Who Can Relate

Brothers and Sisters,

Back when our son had just been born and I was still selling real estate, I had a pair of clients who loved to match my travails in early parenthood with war stories about their dog. I appreciated their attempts to relate, but they always left me cold. Letting your pup out at 2 AM isn’t quite the same as having to change, feed, burp, and rock a crying baby twice a night.

The problem was: they hadn’t been where Suzanne and I were. They couldn’t relate. Otherwise, they wouldn’t have tried to compare our kid to their dog.

Lots of people see God as a cosmic dictator who stands apart from the world. He might “see” our everyday trials, but we don’t think He can relate to them. He doesn’t know what it’s like to be us. Even folks in the church who “know better” can struggle with God’s apparent distance.

But the glory of the incarnation is that God can relate to us.

In Christ, He has “put on the likeness of our sinful flesh” (Rom 8:3). Jesus was made like us “in every respect” (Heb 2:17). To adapt a saying of the early Church, He assumed our human nature so that He could heal it.

If you’re struggling, then take comfort in the fact that Jesus knows your pain. He knows what it’s like to be exhausted (John 4:6). He knows what it’s like to be betrayed by close friends (Luke 22:47-48). He knows what it’s like to wrestle with frustration and futility (Matt 8:26; 21:19-22). He knows what it’s like to be rejected (Isa 53:3; Mark 9:12). He knows.

Jesus has entered into the depths of our human experience so that He could become the Perfected Savior who delivers us from the brokenness of life in a fallen world. And because He reigns as our Crucified, Resurrected, and Ascended King, our present circumstances will never have the final word over us. He rules and defends His blood-bought subjects.*

Because the Holy One who inhabits eternity has come into the world to revive the spirit of the lowly and the heart of the contrite (Isa 57:15), we have received comfort for our affliction along with the grace to comfort others. We may not always be able to relate, but our purpose is not ultimately to relate but to point others to a merciful and faithful high priest who can.

I pray the gospel would bring you tidings of comfort and joy that surpass all worldly understanding. May we all follow our Savior into the broken places that surround us this Advent so that we can shine like bright lights in the darkness.

In Christ Alone, Kenny

P.S. Advent is a great time to bring others to church. I encourage you to consider inviting someone to join you this Sunday. We’ll be talking about how Jesus came to make us fully human and lead us into eternal joy. See you then!

*Westminster Shorter Catechism Question & Answer 26: “How does Christ execute the office of a King? Christ executes the office of a king, in subduing us to himself, in ruling and defending us, and in restraining and conquering all his and our enemies.”