The employees of JR West—the company which provides maintenance on Japan’s bullet trains—are not happy campers. JR West (AKA West Japan Railway Company) requires its mechanics to undergo some rather daunting training. Every member of the maintenance team, 200 persons in all, must sit beside the rails of a speeding Shinkansen train. These trains cruise at 186 miles per hour, so it’s a scary experience.
Why does JR West subject its people to this terrifying “training”? Its purpose is to impress upon the workers the seriousness of their mission. It’s to give the maintenance crews a “close up” picture of what might happen if they become careless in servicing these hurdling behemoths. The training became a requirement in 2016 after a portion of the train’s exterior flew off while in operation the year before.
But JR West doesn’t only intend to jealously guard its near-flawless maintenance and performance record through this training. It also wants to establish passenger confidence in bullet train’s safety. In other words, if the maintenance personnel are willing to get so close to one of their speeding trains, then they must be safe.
Our Confidence in God
Scripture indicates that God did something similar to establish confidence in our hearts. Just as JR West exposed its employees to danger in order to establish passenger confidence, God exposed Jesus to all the pain of this life. The Bible states that Jesus had to endure the school of hard knocks, like the rest of us (Heb. 5:7–8). And that Jesus was tempted and afflicted in every way as we ourselves are (Heb. 4:15). In fact, God fashioned Jesus into the “Perfect Savior” through those sufferings (Heb. 2:10, 18).
Whenever we suffer rejection, abandonment, or injustice, we can rest assured that Jesus knows exactly how we feel.
By pondering the sufferings of Jesus, we now have complete confidence that Jesus knows—by personal experience—what we go through. Whenever we suffer rejection, abandonment, or injustice, we can rest assured that Jesus knows exactly how we feel. When we feel powerless beneath the heel of circumstances, then guess what? Jesus Himself knows that feeling of helplessness. In Jesus, the Almighty God made Himself as helpless as a newborn babe, cradled in the arms of Mary. Ever since Jesus left His throne of glory to walk upon this blood-stained ground, we can be confident that God is not remote, unaffected by our suffering. On the contrary, the Scripture says, “In all our affliction, He Himself is afflicted” (Isa. 63:9).
But not only has Jesus tread this path before us. Not only has He tasted both life and death for us. Jesus has overcome them all—sin, temptation, Satan’s fury, and death itself (John 16:33; Heb. 2:14). The Son of God has blazed a trail. He has paved a highway through life’s most difficult and frightening challenges. And He promises to accompany us every step of the way to His heavenly Kingdom (Matt. 28:20).
Dear Lord Jesus, into Your loving and capable hands I commit my spirit, soul, and body. Please take me from my present flawed and frail existence and cause me to stand joyfully in Your glorious presence without defect. Amen.