Stephen Seamands recalls a story about a missionary in a faraway land. He went to share and show the good news of Jesus.
But he wasn’t making any headway with the locals. It was as if they were closed to who he was and what he had to say because he was simply “not one of them.”
The missionary had a young son who developed a horrific fever. It was so bad that he died. Imagine the pain, not only of losing a young child, but losing them while so far from home.
The father built a tiny casket, put his son in it, and set out to bury his child.
The locals heard what had happened and came to watch from a distance. As they did so they saw the missionary in a different light. They saw tears streaming down his face as he buried his son in a little casket.
“He cries just like us!” they said.
From that day on things were different. He was “like them.” As a result, they were more open to who he was and what he had to say.*
That’s like Jesus, who “being in very nature God… made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness” (Philippians 2:6, 7).
In many ways, Jesus is like us as a fellow human being. He wept, was hungry, mourned, and experienced ridicule, rejection and death.
So, go to God in prayer; he understands. Trust his words; he cares. Walk in his ways; he has walked them first.
Someone who has been there like you will be there for you.
That, my brothers and sisters, is the gift of Jesus.
–*Stephen Seamands, Give them Christ: Preaching His Incarnation, Crucifixion, Resurrection, Ascension and Return (Downers Grove: InterVarsity, 2012), 39.
–Bible quotes are from the NIV.