Another person I know is going through the worst of times. Is it my age that makes me see the pain in others or is it that I have been broken-hearted and through some pretty difficult times myself? I don’t know, but what I do know is that I see the pain in others now more than I ever did before. I see hearts breaking and feel compassion as I’ve never felt before. Oh dear God how can I ease the emotional suffering I see in others? What can I do or say that will comfort them? I know that Jesus was filled with compassion for others and He healed some people yet there was nothing He could do for others because their faith was not in Him.
“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful, but within are full of dead people’s bones and all uncleanness. So you also outwardly appear righteous to others, but within you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness. “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you build the tombs of the prophets and decorate the monuments of the righteous, saying, ‘If we had lived in the days of our fathers, we would not have taken part with them in shedding the blood of the prophets.’ Thus you witness against yourselves that you are sons of those who murdered the prophets. Fill up, then, the measure of your fathers. You serpents, you brood of vipers, how are you to escape being sentenced to hell? Therefore I send you prophets and wise men and scribes, some of whom you will kill and crucify, and some you will flog in your synagogues and persecute from town to town, so that on you may come all the righteous blood shed on earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah the son of Barachiah, whom you murdered between the sanctuary and the altar. Truly, I say to you, all these things will come upon this generation.
“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing! See, your house is left to you desolate. For I tell you, you will not see me again, until you say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.’” Matthew 23:27-39, (English Standard Version or ESV).
Jesus has spoken a long list of woes in chapter twenty-three and you may find it interesting to go and read the entire passage. I chose to list only the last few to bring clarity to why Jesus was so grieved by the Jewish people living in Jerusalem. For many years the people living in Jerusalem had rejected those men who were sent by God to bring about repentance. However the hearts of the people were stubborn, hardened, and would not listen to their prophets. Jesus shows us how sad He felt in this passage. How He must have longed to see hearts softened and full of repentance. How He longed to see the relationship of these people restored to God. How broken-hearted Jesus must have felt as He prayed for Jerusalem. Remember that the people of Jerusalem to the rest of the world were very religious, but to the Son of God they were rebellious. The imagery of a mother hen gathering her baby chicks under her wing to shelter them is something many of us don’t see today but it is one of such care and concern. Mama hen clucks and hovers getting all her little ones under her wing. This does take some time but it also is a safe and comforting place to be if you are the little chick. Those who have been raised around chickens can relate to this scene and will understand what Jesus is portraying here. Yes, I believe that Jesus knows what we feel when our hearts are broken.
When we see someone with a rebellious heart against the things of God I think we also feel sadness just as Jesus felt saddened. Yet there is nothing we can do to change the hardened heart of someone else except to continue to pray for them. So it is when we see our family and friends go through a rugged time. Perhaps it is an unexpected illness with devastating consequences or the loss of a beloved spouse or child or maybe seeing our best friend turn away from God and walk in the way of the world, whatever the situation, we feel the sadness just as Jesus felt that day as He overlooked the beloved city of Jerusalem. Some will ask why God doesn’t intervene and answer our prayers for others in the way that we ask for answers. I have no answer for this question except to remind them that God loves them and has a reason for saying no to their request. Hearing God say “no” is such a hard thing to go through. When this has happened to me I want to scream and shout my anger at God for what I believe is His deliberate withholding of healing or restoration. Yet God remained firm in the answer and I learned to submit my desires and my will to Him. These scriptures helped me to do so.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord, and turn away from evil. It will be healing to your flesh and refreshment to your bones. Proverbs 3:5-8, (ESV).
For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.
Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified. Romans 8:18-30, (ESV).
I love you, O Lord, my strength. The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. Psalm 18:1-2, (ESV).
Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you. I rejoiced in the Lord greatly that now at length you have revived your concern for me. You were indeed concerned for me, but you had no opportunity. Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me. Philippians 4:4-13, (ESV).
I want to say to you who are hurting and your heart is breaking that God understands your pain. If you are angry with God then tell Him…go find a quiet place and talk it over out loud. God can handle your anger much better than you can so let it out and don’t hold back anything. When you are empty of your anger then and only then will God lift you up and bring you the peace that you so strongly desire. I doubt that Jesus made His comments over Jerusalem without emotion, no; I believe that there were tears and heart-break going on. Why do you think it is not alright to express your deepest feelings to God? It is better to talk it out, scream it out if you have to, and then get back into the Word of God and study to find the verse that you need to sustain you through this very hurtful time in your life. That is how we submit our feelings to God and are capable and able to go forward in our life. Like I said, our God is big enough to handle your pain and gracious enough to forgive you and never stops loving you. How cool is that!