I read this book before at the Library and really liked it. Recently my husband bought it for me online so I've been going through it again. I've only read the first two chapters and I can tell you this, it's already helping me. I'll be sure to give a full review on the book when I finish it. But I thought I'd write a little about it now.
My husband and I have some disagreements about who God is. Don't get me wrong, the really important parts we agree on. My husband says God is purely logical with no emotions. That the only emotion God really has is joy because He's in union with himself (himself as in the trinity - that's another topic though). He believes Jesus has emotions, but God as a whole doesn't. I disagree with this though. If we are made in God's image, and he created us with emotions, wouldn't that mean he has emotions too? If you talk to my husband, he can give you a better idea of what he believes on this (I'm probably not representing his side very well). But for this entry, I'm giving you my opinion on the matter.
Jesus is fully God, but he's also fully man. I know that may be confusing, it can be confusing for me at times too. When you read about Jesus in the Scriptures, you can see he has human emotions. Sometimes he gets angry. Sometimes he is overwhelmed with sadness. Isaiah 53:3 foretold of Jesus being a "man of sorrows." We look in John and the shortest verse in the Bible is literally "Jesus wept." His best friend Lazarus has been dead for three days. When he goes to the site where Lazarus is buried, Lazarus' sisters Martha and Mary fall at Jesus' feet in tears. "If you had come earlier my brother would've never died!" Jesus is overcome with so much grief he actually weeps. There are debates on why he cried. Some say it's because people did not believe he could raise Lazarus from the dead. Others say it's because he knew in a couple of weeks, he too would be experiencing death. As for me, I think it's because he lost his best friend. Jesus was just as human as any of us. When we lose someone we love, we often cry over it. Why couldn't this have been the same for Jesus? Jesus' heart broke, and you see other times in Scripture that God's heart breaks. Genesis 6:7 - "At that point, God's heart broke...."
Luke 19:41 - "As he approached Jerusalem and saw the city, he wept."
God's heart breaks.
Jesus understands what we go through, because he's been through it too. Jesus was tempted just like you and me. Jesus experienced people hating him and even betraying him to death! Jesus experienced loss, from his best friend's death, and even his cousin (John the Baptist) being killed (beheaded). Jesus understands grief, because he's experienced grief too. I think God has all the emotions we have. He has joy, he has anger, and he has sadness. We hear a lot about his anger in the Old Testament. Deuteronomy 32:35 - "It is mine to avenge...." We hear a lot about God's wrath from people with signs and bullhorns. "God hates this! God hates that! If you don't get your act straight you're going to burn in hell!" I'm not going to lie, there are things God hates. There are things he attests. There are things he despises. But he doesn't hate people. He loves EVERYONE - including you and me. The love of God can be something we don't understand. Nonetheless, he loves all people. He created every person out of his love because the truth is, he doesn't NEED any of us. He created us because he loves us - he wants us!
I think when we hurt, he hurts too. When we are curled up in a fetus position crying our eyes out, he feels our pain. When we feel so desperate like we've got to end things (whether it's self-harming or even suicidal), his heart breaks. He never wanted us to feel this way. He created a perfect place we know as the Garden of Eden. We were supposed to be in a perfect relationship with God. But when Adam and Eve ate from the tree they weren't supposed to, all of creation suffered from it. We now live in a broken and fallen world because of that, which means we feel pain that we were never meant to feel. There are fallen, imperfect people, which means people are going to hurt us.
Sometimes people think God is sadistic and just wants to watch us suffer and point the finger at us "This is YOUR fault!" That's not who God really is though. He's not out to watch us make mistakes and then judge us. No. He wants to help us through our lives. He wants to guide us. He wants a relationship with us. He. loves. you. No matter what you've done, said, or thought, he loves you. No matter how much darkness is inside you, he loves you. He says "Give me your pain, and I will give you healing." Now, this doesn't mean he's going to heal you right away. Sometimes we won't get that healing until the next life. Other times, we'll give him our pain, and for some reason, we keep going back and taking that pain back. People say "leave your pain at the foot of the cross." That's definitely easier said than done. I mean, how do we do that? How do we say "here Jesus, you can have my pain, my hurts, my sorrows?" I know sometimes (more like a lot of times), I'll give it to Jesus and say, "Here, take this, I don't want it anymore and can't keep going on like this!" But after I do that, I go right back and say, "I can't get rid of this!" We carry luggage in our lives and instead of giving it to God, we keep carrying it until it completely breaks us. Jesus understands that. After all, he carried the world on his shoulders. All of our pain, our suffering, he carried on his shoulders on the cross! That's a pain, no one could bare. Jesus understands heartache, because he went through it too.
When you go through heartache, remember, Jesus understands and wants to be there for you. Matthew 11:30 - "For my yoke is easy and my burden is light." Let him carry your burdens and he will give you rest.