Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has ascended into heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.
Hebrews 4:14-16 NIV
The last year has been filled with trials and sorrows, sacrifices, and loss for all of us. Whatever form your suffering may have taken these hard months, you have been prayed over constantly by Anderson University's faculty, staff, and ministry teams.
Amidst all that we have lost, though, it is important to focus on what we have in our possession: something greater than sorrow, and someone who overcomes all of our fears.
Reflecting on a journal I have kept since I was saved two years ago, there were many occasions when I doubted how a sinless God could understand the despair of the human condition in sin. However, God led me this morning to the passages that once answered my question!
Jesus felt temptation much more severely than we ever will, in essence, because the one who does not give in to temptation knows the full strength of temptation (Guzik). For this reason, although we know that Jesus did not feel the internal sinful nature we experience, Jesus felt temptation and suffering unimaginable to us.
This is not to discredit our experiences and our feelings. 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 calls God the "God of all comfort," knowing that we will endure persecution and sorrows but that God desires to comfort us in all our affliction. Knowing that God in the flesh endured more than we could ever imagine, and for our sakes, is one of the greatest comforts of all when going through dark seasons. The God Most High suffered and died for you that you might be saved; therefore, He is the one that walks with you through whatever darkness you are enduring this season.
Coming boldly to God's throne of grace means to come constantly, without hesitation, and confidently. Speaking to God does not mean fancy prayers or perfection. God wants us to come to His throne not only in daily worship but also when we are in need. Just as Jesus Christ suffered for our sakes, so too should we feel able to bring our sorrows to his feet each and every moment.
God's throne of grace entails two things that bring joy to the heart. Mercy, not getting what we deserve, is the first. Grace, getting what we do not deserve, is the second.
There have been countless times when I felt inadequate to approach God, too sinful to even speak His name. But God forgives us freely, constantly, and completely when we ask. For myself, this often means putting aside my pride, remembering that God values me, and dusting myself off to live for God all over again.
This reconciliation is not an ignorance of God's law, but is the fulfillment of God's law in the cross. In the words of Charles Spurgeon, "None but God would ever have thought of justifying me. I am a wonder to myself."
In humility, we recognize and cringe at our sin and sinful nature. By grace, we approach the throne of God's grace and mercy. By love, we are forgiven and, even still, comforted.
Let us never forget the High Priest that we serve is greater than any darkness we are experiencing. No matter how deep, complicated, or painful your struggles are, God empathizes and longs to walk with you. Feel your pain, but let your omniscient and loving God save and comfort you. Remember the sacrifices that Jesus made for you, and allow them to make you stronger each and every day.
Wherever you are, and no matter what your relationship with Jesus is or has become, take a moment to feel the breadth of his love for you personally. God's throne of grace is open to you each and every moment, and He will never stop chasing after your heart!
"How To Be Yours" Chris Renzema