One of the greatest gifts a person can give another is to be with them. The shared life and shared experience is not only one of the richest human experiences, but it intensifies joy or comfort. A person who likes to “say their piece” so they don’t have to get too involved is a picture of the opposite. Paul encouraged people to " Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep," (Romans 12:15, NRSV). God knows what people need. A grieving person knows there is nothing better than someone who doesn’t have to say anything to make them feel better, but who will be with them in what they feel. A person who has accomplished something wonderful knows it amplifies their joy to have someone who will be happy with them. It is a powerful gift to “be with”.
It is no wonder that God sent his son to be with people. He has not left anyone alone or to their own devices. John says, “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling with us,” (John 1:14, TNIV). It is so good that there is something more than rules or even life principles. There is The Life come to “be with” all who would accept his company. The unbearable becomes bearable when it is shared. The boring can become fun when it is shared. Life can become what it was supposed to be when the One who made it lives along side. Jesus came to be with and open the door to being with him.
A unique reality about Jesus is that what he does is not only something he does and can do. What he does is also something he enables his followers to do. When a follower learns to be with another, they strengthen, comfort, and expand life exponentially. In fact, one of the ways that Jesus is with people is through the people he sends their way to be with them.
The incarnation of Jesus is unfathomably gracious. He deserved the glory he lived but left it to be like humanity and to experience people’s pain, heartache and frustration in order to be with. His love led him to do it. And he enlarges hearts to feel for people around them in just the same way today.
There is a man in Fort Collins who has been pastor of churches for many years. He decided to do ministry a different way and took an hourly job. How easy it would be for him to think, “With my experience and education, I should be making two or three times this much money and not have to work this hard.” Or he could realize that God is with him, providing for him, not leaving him alone. He could let God work in him to re-enact the incarnation in a sense. Whatever place people find themselves in, is a place to be with those who are facing the same thing. What a better place our world would be if everyone learned to be with each other and discover God present in all we face. It is more than not being alone. It is life, and that to the full.