Does God have feelings? Real ones? Maybe that seems like a strange question. Of course He does. It’s just that we’re not used to thinking about them. Just think: what emotion do you most associate with God? I’m betting it’s anger. Most of us don’t have a difficult time picturing God as disappointed, displeased, irritated or just flat out mad- at us in particular or humanity in general.
But have you ever thought about God suffering? That He might actually feel pain? This verse from Isaiah 63 stopped me in my tracks the other day: “In all their suffering He also suffered…” Think about that for a moment. When God’s people experienced pain and anguish- even pain that was self-inflicted- He hurt with them. God suffers with us.
That changes the mental picture of God that most of us carry around. We tend to view our God as a fairly distant “far away and not yet” kind of deity. That the pains and hurts and raw emotion of our existence are somehow kind of “beneath” God. But think about this: Jesus reveals to us a God who is full of emotion- radical joy, deep sorrow, tender-hearted compassion. Jesus puts a face to God’s palette of empathy and emotion.
And make no mistake- how you feel matters to God. He is not distant or detached from your journey, but feels it with you, alongside you. All of which brings a fresh comfort and depth to Jesus’ words, “I will never leave you or forsake you.” Not just an interested observer, but a forever friend, a companion in each moment. He knows us. He cares for us. He meets us where we are and enters in. What an amazing God!