The “fellowship of His sufferings” no doubt has many aspects. I would like to speak of one that is close to my heart. It is not the suffering of Jesus while He walked this earth. It is the present aching in the heart of God – His aching and longing for us.
One may say, “Surely the Omnipotent does not need us!” And that is true. And yet perhaps a higher truth is that He wants us. And because He has of His own free will and choice thus positioned Himself, so to speak, it occurs that when we are not in relationship with Him as He desires, He misses us.
God created us in His image. Every single human being who has ever lived was created by God. Whether or not an individual believes he was created by God or not, does not change the fact. We all bear His image, each and every one of us does. That is why every human life is so immeasurably valuable – every single one.
There is no question that the image of our Father in us has been marred. We do not reflect His fair ideal as Adam once did – for awhile. In many, many members of the human race the beautiful image of our Creator that we were born to reflect has been so terribly twisted and warped that indeed it is hardly recognizable. Nevertheless, beneath the layers and layers that may hide it, the stamp is there.
Our Father yearns to see a family-likeness in us. He craves to see us be what we were born to be. Many a father or mother can understand this desire. We were created to be like Him. For only those who are alike, whose hearts are in alignment, can truly fellowship and commune. His heart calls to our hearts. Our home is in His heart, and we are restless until we discover that - and in an inexplicable way, He is, too. I’ve heard it said that there is a place in His heart that has my name on it. No one else can fill that place, no one; it’s for me alone. He waits for me. He waits for you, longs for you. No one can take your place in our Father’s heart.
Sometimes I feel a heavy weight on my spirit. I experience waves of grief. I find myself crying, and often groaning deeply within, and I cannot name the reason. Gradually I have come to see that it is something very holy that my Father is sharing with me. It is His own grief. It is far beyond my cries for myself, for my own needs. It is in a whole different sphere. I catch a tiny glimpse of His heart, His hurt, His suffering – longsuffering, as He waits for us, the people he created for Himself, to “come around”, to forsake our stubborn, willful running from Him, and instead return to Him. He sees us hurt ourselves in our rebellion, in our insistence on going our own way without Him, instead of His wise way for us. And just as it affects us human parents with wayward children whose choices are destroying them, it breaks His heart – only infinitely moreso.
Yes, we have hunger, hunger for God. But it may be that we have never thought about the hunger of God for us. If we ever entered in, even a little, to the sorrow of God over humanity, we have entered a very holy place. Perhaps you will be one of the few who desires to enter into the very heart of God and feel what He feels, and be drawn into the holy place of sharing His suffering. If the yearnings of His heart become yours, you will never again be the same.
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