Misconceptions about God permeate humanity’s thinking like the holes in swiss cheese. One of those mistaken beliefs is the notion that God is distant, that he does not care about us, and that he is difficult to please. Some of this belief may originate from the Old Testament stories of God where he seems to always speak to his people through prophets who have special access, or through Angels who visit special people, or by directly addressing them in dramatic or mysterious fashion.
This skewed view of God’s character is best balanced by a study of the New Testament’s portrayal of the life of Jesus. Consider how the the Old Testament prophet Isaiah said that he would be named “Immanuel” (Isaiah 7:14). And how the Angel reinforces that idea to Mary when he tells her that Jesus will be called Immanuel — which means God with us (Matthew 1:23). When Jesus came to earth as a man, he was God with us — not in a distant, mysterious way, but in a real and close way. In fact, he he was a real God, living as a real man, forging real relationships, who created the greatest and best real change the world has ever known.
Notice the raw, personal emotion of Jesus in the story of the death of Lazarus (John 11:1-44). In the story, Lazarus, a friend of Jesus, and the brother of Mary and Martha had been dead for some time. When Jesus approaches Mary and Martha and the people that were part of that social circle, he finds them weeping. Jesus weeps, too. The bible says he was deeply moved, and that his spirit was greatly troubled. He wasn’t troubled by the death of Lazarus. Jesus knew that he could be raised from the dead, and indeed, brought life back to Lazarus. He was moved and troubled by the pain in his friends.
Jesus is not distant. He is close to you. He cares for you. And he can empathize with you (Psalm 34:18, 1 Peter 5:6-7, Hebrews 4:15 NIV).