The Feeling of My Infirmities


The human emotions chart[1] has 10 broad categories into which the range of our emotions fall and then each category has a wide spectrum from strong to medium to weak (see the link below).  On any given day we make rounds at this emotional buffet line, sometimes feeling the domino effect of one emotion as it evokes others or in an instant having conflicting emotions.  I cannot say with certainty that every individual experience every single range of these emotions listed on the chart, but that’s okay because among the 8 billion plus of us who inhabit the earth, I am sure we cover them all and perhaps are creating new hybrid emotions as our experiences evolve in this millennial age.  So in contemplating my own emotional range, I realize now that I may have been a little skeptical about the idea presented in Hebrews 4:15(KJV):

For we do not have a High Priest who cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities;
but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.

I have no doubt that he was without sin. I am convinced of that, but I recently found myself asking in prayer, “Do you understand how I feel?”  An odd question maybe, but at the time I did not have words to adequately explain how I felt; that verse was my answer!  The KJV bible infers that He is touched with the “feeling” of my infirmities, in His current role as High Priest, a present continuous tense that made me reevaluate and re-appreciate the fullness of that declaration.

What does that mean for us?  I mean, the Messiah was human, but I have not read of him having any debilitating disease, owning a house and having to pay bills or him praying for something and not getting it.  Oh wait, there was that moment in Gethsemane, a most emotional scene which I can only imagine must have moved Him to the core, given the expression of his emotions in blood and sweat.  That is a moment when he had to walk away knowing that even though all things are possible, what is possible is not always His Father’s will (Matthew 26:42 NIV).

We understand this ‘feeling’ with which He is affected and can exercise enormous empathy is not the result of Him being in our unique circumstance; He could not, in His 33 years have had every singular human experience.  He did however encounter thousands of people with varied experiences and therefore varied emotional states and the scripture often spoke of his help and healing being preceded by him being “moved with compassion”.  The extent of His love (it always comes back to love) made Him understand the emotional experience – the internal psychological, feeling if you will and in some examples he showed the physiological expressions that emerged from the feeling.

On the day he died, His suffering perhaps evoked many emotional responses: anguish from being treated with cruelty, disappointment in not being understood and mocked, abandonment from not being rescued by His Father and loneliness of going through his trials without the support of his disciples now scattered and can you imagine the pain of watching his mother and friends helplessly mourn as His life is agonizingly taken. And yet even in that moment he had compassion on another who was subject to similar physical suffering.

It is this compassion, extended to us even now, that allows Him to relate to our feeling with an inclination to respond, to soothe our hearts and minds, to heal our body and comfort us in loss and in every situation give us the strength to experience the emotions without denying who we are in Him, and His omnipotence.  Be consoled that if no one else understands, He does! He understands, He empathizes and He says come boldly, knowing you won’t be misunderstood even if you cannot express how you feel. How could we be misunderstood by the Omniscient One?  His Omniscience doesn’t only cover what’s happening to us, but also what’s happening in us.

Armed with this assurance, recognize that in our moments of emotional turmoil, our greater purpose remains.  Never let feelings get in the way of the pursuit of His purpose and our goals.  Endure the emotions and expect change, healing and a loving response from our very relatable High Priest.

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