Matthew 23v 37 “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones God’s messengers! How often I have wanted to gather your children together as a hen protects her chicks beneath her wings, but you wouldn’t let me. 38 And now, look, your house is abandoned and desolate. 39 For I tell you this, you will never see me again until you say, ‘Blessings on the one who comes in the name of the Lord!’
Does God ever feel distant? Does it ever feel like He just doesn’t understand or care? I think that those are questions that come up in life, especially when we feel hurt or grief. I was reading Matthew chapter 23 and I was struck by the emotions that Jesus showed. In the first 36 verses He shows incredibly strong criticism and judgment for people who loved religion, but rejected God. In fact they were religious leaders, yet 6 times Jesus calls them hypocrites! Righteous anger at sinful people. Yet what is also striking is how the chapter finishes. Verses 37-39 show Jesus grieving over Jerusalem. Jesus wept as He looked over a city of people who had rejected God’s truth and God’s way to peace with Him. Rejection of God’s messengers, of God’s message, and finally rejection of God himself who became a man in order to save people. God knows what it is to experience grief. He knows what it is like when people question His goodness and His motives. He knows what it’s like to be jealous for someone’s love and attention, but to be rejected instead for something that will actually destroy that person. God knows the disappointment of what it’s like to give wonderful gifts to people, who are ungrateful and unappreciative and maybe even ignore the gift completely!
As we perhaps feel these emotions ourselves, in the midst of hurt and grief do not buy into the lies that God doesn’t understand or care. These painful experiences are opportunities to know that God understands, and wants to connect with your heart. God has chosen to love broken and sinful people. That means His love and offer of rescue can be rejected, bringing God heartache and grief. God the Son, Jesus, came to rescue but in the end was rejected by proud people. God the Father is grieved by hearts that reject Jesus. The warning of His righteous anger still sounds out to those who reject Jesus, but for any person who believes in Jesus then even in the midst of grief and pain there is still hope. God is not distant, and He does understand! Let your grief give you a glimpse into God’s heart. Let it show you God’s grief for every person that rejects Jesus. Let it bring you into the presence of your loving Heavenly Father! He is not distant! He does understand and care! Jesus is the proof of that!