So often, we picture God as some distant and aloof deity who’s far removed from the suffering of his people. We imagine he’s kind of like a dictator who lives in extravagance while his people live in poverty.

I think of Kim Jong-un in North Korea. Kim Jong-un has more money than he knows what to do with, while the vast majority of his people live in extreme poverty. Do you think Kim Jong-un really understands what’s like to live in poverty? I don’t think so. That guy has probably never missed a meal in his life or lacked anything he’s ever wanted. He’s far removed from the suffering of his people.

But God’s not like that.

God became a human being in the person of Jesus. He entered our world and experienced all the suffering we experience. He’s no stranger to suffering.

Have you ever gone through a season of grief? So did Jesus when his legal father Joseph died while Jesus was still rather young. Have you ever been betrayed by a close friend? So was Jesus when Judas Iscariot betrayed him. Has anyone ever maliciously harmed you? Well, people harmed Jesus as well when they shouted for Pilate to have him crucified.

Have you ever been plagued by a health issue that cause you a good deal of physical pain? So did Jesus when the Roman soldiers whipped him and nailed him to the cross. Have you ever struggled with loneliness or a sense of abandonment? Jesus has already walked down that road also when he cried out from the cross, “Father, why have you forsaken me?”

Whatever you’ve experienced, Jesus has been there also.

Far from being detached from our pain and suffering, Jesus understands from experience exactly what you’re going through and exactly how you feel. He’s suffered the way you’re suffering.

Remember that the next time you’re tempted to think of God as distant or detached from the things you’re going through.