Welcome to Divine Companionship
“Divine Companionship.” What thoughts does this arouse in you when you think about its meaning? What, exactly, is a divine companion? Probably, it causes you to think about a close friend or family member who has always been there for you. Someone who is there in the best of times and the worst of times. Someone you can depend upon to share your moments of celebration, and likewise meet you in your darkest moments.
This kind of companion is certainly great to have, but the “divine” is something that transcends all human relationships. Divine companionship is about God. Rather, it is God. It is the perfect, flawless companionship we receive from our heavenly Father. The key word being “receive,” because in our darkest, most painful times of suffering, when no human touch or compassionate words can minister to our aching soul, only God can fully, perfectly and truly meet us. When human touch and words fail to alleviate the pain, and the questions of our suffering go unanswered, we receive from God what only He can give us – His divine companionship.
We have all been there, right? We hurt. Our loved ones hurt. The world around us hurts. What we see and have experienced takes us beyond merely asking the question “What is suffering?” or the deeper, universal question “Why do the righteous suffer?” because we have come to learn that suffering is more complex than these questions alone. In a world rife with pain and suffering, difficult questions about God’s care for humanity are raised: “Don’t you realize, God, how much this hurts?” “Why don’t you do something to stop the pain?” As our Divine Companion, we are left wondering if God really understands our suffering or if He can truly identify with our pain.
So what does it mean to God when we experience pain and suffering? Is He insensitive and immune to our suffering? Quite the contrary! As the God of the universe who loves humanity deeply, He sent His one and only Son to bear our sin and pain and suffering on the cross, overcoming all of it through the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. In this grand act of love and sacrifice and redemption, we see that God does, indeed, know the depth of our suffering to a degree with which no human can empathize or understand. Big hurt. Little hurt. If it hurts us, it hurts God. As Psalm 56:8 tells us, God sees our tears and holds them in a bottle: “You have kept count of my tossings; put my tears in your bottle. Are they not in your book?” And in Psalm 34:18 and 147:3 we read that God “is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit” and that “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” So, undoubtedly, God is not immune to our suffering but present with us in the midst of our deepest pain.
Moreover, as our Divine Companion, God not only meets us in our pain and suffering, but longs for us to be and remain in relationship with Him, even in our moments of greatest pain and suffering, and to open ourselves to Him in those moments. This openness is expressed through honesty about our suffering and experiences; about the brokenness, suffering and evil of this world; and even about our own frustrations and anger at times with God. Remarkably, our honest cries and complaints, our anger and raised fists, perhaps even our cursing at God bears no harsh response from Him. Rather, just as a loving father listens to and comforts his children in their distress, our heavenly Father comforts us in our suffering and wraps us in His love.
No matter what you are going through, my friend, may God’s divine companionship comfort and strengthen you, and may you be assured of His abundant love for you!
In God’s divine love,
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