30th January 2019

“I Know How You Feel”

“This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same testings we do, yet he did not sin. So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.”
Hebrews 4:15–16 (NLT)

It’s not easy reaching out to someone who’s recently lost a loved one, is it? Some people are too embarrassed to mention the dead person’s name. So perhaps it helps for the bereaved person to say, “It’s okay; don’t be afraid.” That takes away the fear of saying something out of place.

Some of the most helpful things people have said to me since I lost my husband are, “If you need to talk, give me a call”; “Do you need a hug?”; and “How did you two meet?” Perhaps the most unhelpful cliché is, “I know how you feel” – when you know that they don’t! That reverses the roles; the bereaved person has to reach out to try not to hurt the well-meaning person. The people best placed to help are the ones who’ve “been there, done that” – not only because they have experienced bereavement, but because you know that they know.

At Christmas time, we sing and hear about “Emmanuel” – one of the names for Jesus, meaning “God with us” (Matthew 1:23). He came to experience life as we know it, to conquer death and to give us the sure hope of sharing in his glorious life – the life he laid aside as Emmanuel, and then resumed after his resurrection. Hebrews 2:14–15, 17–18 tells us: “Because God’s children are human beings—made of flesh and blood—the Son also became flesh and blood by being born in human form. For only as a human being could he die, and only by dying could he break the power of the devil, who had the power of death. Only in this way could he set free all who have lived their lives as slaves to the fear of dying…Therefore, it was necessary for him to be made in every respect like us, his brothers and sisters, so that he could be our merciful and faithful High Priest before God. Then he could offer a sacrifice that would take away the sins of the people. Since he himself has gone through suffering…he is able to help us…”

We’re told in Hebrews 5:8 that he learned obedience by the things he suffered. I suggest his becoming Emmanuel goes further and helps us relate to this amazing God who saves us. Not only does he know how we feel but it resonates all the more because we know that he knows what it’s like to be one of us.

We give praise to you, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Emmanuel who comforts us. Thank you that you comfort us in all our troubles. Help us to comfort others with the comfort that you have given us.

Study by Shirley McLean


About the Author:
Shirley McLean attends Grace Communion International in Luton. Shirley runs a monthly choir workshop, which is also a social occasion where all are welcome–see www.kingsfold.org

Local Congregation:
Gracecom Luton
Farley Hill Methodist Church
North Drift Way
Farley Hill

Meeting time:
Saturday 10:30am

Local Congregational Contact:
Harry Sullivan
Phone: 01908-582222
Email: harry_sullivan@wcg.org.uk

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