Because he himself was tested by what he suffered, he is able to help those who are being tested. (Hebrew 2:18 NRSV)
Many of you will remember Alex Haley and his historic work, Roots, that told the story of the life of slaves in America. While doing his research, he had a terrible emptiness over his inability to feel the same torment that the slaves must have experienced, as they lay trapped in chains aboard ships heading to strange new lands.
So he flew to Africa, and there he purchased a one-way passenger ticket back to the United States on a cargo ship. On the ship he found the cargo hole, and for the next several nights he slept there.
He would strip down to his underwear and lay on a rough wooden board on his back. It was not a pleasant trip. He had a miserable cold by the third night. By the fourth night he, a passenger, safe and snug on a steel cargo ship, eating three meals a day, could not handle the experience. He abandoned the voyage.
Jesus came to our world to experience our human situation like Alex Haley did for the slaves. Jesus was born to poor parents. He earned his living in a carpenter's shop. He was rejected and killed on the cross by his own people to experience our humanness, so he could become the light of the world.
Dear God, move me out of my comfort to experience the pain of those who suffer for your glory. Amen.
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