So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy…
In Christ there is affection and sympathy. What does that mean?
Affection is showing love: a hug, a smile, a hand on the shoulder, holding hands. Every school day afternoon I see from my window a mum striding briskly ahead of her small son. I long for the day when they will walk side-by-side with that little boy enjoying his mum’s attention, secure in her love as she shows him affection.
Affection is warming and affirming. It makes you feel secure. You know you are loved.
This verse says God is affectionate to me. How?
- Every time He brings truth alive in my heart, giving me assurance and making me feel loved.
- When I have a supernatural encounter with Him and I enjoy His presence.
- By a hug or prayer or prophetic word or blessing from a friend.
- When He whispers to my heart to come outside because He has something to show me, He directs me to look up and see golden clouds at sunset, and says: ‘I thought you’d enjoy it.’
- Each time He reaches down into the depths of me, healing and restoring what had broken into a thousand tiny pieces.
God also has sympathy for me. Jesus knows precisely how I feel because He was human too. He understands my weakness and my needs because He has been there.
Am I childless? So was Jesus.
Am I tired at times of sin and temptation? So was Jesus.
Have I been hurt in unspeakable ways? So was Jesus.
Do I get tired and achey? So did Jesus.
Because He sympathises with me, I draw near to His throne of grace with confidence, knowing that He will meet me right in my need. It’s real. When I’m dealing with situations and feelings too big for me, I know that Jesus is enough to handle them. He sympathises in a way that no one else ever can. He is real and authentic and strong.
Look at all I have in Him: encouragement, comfort, love, fellowship and participation, affection and sympathy. There’s no one like Him.