Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil. After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. – Matthew 4:1-2

I once heard a story of a woman who lost her only daughter in a tragic accident. After the funeral she fell into deep despair, and many of her friends began to worry about her safety. In desperation, one of them asked their local priest if he would go to her house and speak with her, but the moment the woman saw him she flew into a rage.

Get out!” She screamed, “I already know what you’re going to say. You’re going to tell me that everything happens for a reason, that this is God’s will, and I don’t want to hear that.” The priest did not move. Eventually the woman began to calm down and started to sob. It was at that the priest spoke, quietly and gently.

Listen,” he told her, “I don’t know why your daughter died, and I do not know why God allowed it to happen, but I do know that God understands what it is to lose a child, and that he is standing next to you, and that he cannot stop your suffering but that he loves you and he loves your daughter, and if you let him into your heart you will see her again.

What really struck me the first time I heard this story was that God really did understand the pain of losing someone. I realized that for a long time I’d had a false view of Jesus. I’d always pictured him as this tall, soft-spoken man who was completely serene no matter what the world threw at him. I didn’t understand that when God became a man he embraced all human sensation, even the ones that hurt.

Jesus got hungry, just like us (Mark 11:12). He got frustrated, just like us (Mark 11:14). He got sad (John 11:35), and angry (John 2:16-17), and scared (Luke 22:44). Jesus probably laughed with his friends, and grew stern with the Pharisees. The Bible says that Jesus lived a sinless life, but that doesn’t mean he wasn’t human.

Some of you may be having a fairly nice day while reading this and some of you may be having a pretty miserable one. Regardless of what is happening to you, know that God understands how you feel, and that he will always love you.