Several years ago I read about the Jesus Chair exercise and decided to try it out. The basic idea is you set aside 15-30 minutes and take an empty chair and imagine that Jesus is sitting in the chair. And you simply begin to talk to Jesus as if he was sitting right there in the room with you. There is nothing magical or weird about this exercise, it simply gives you a visual and tangible way of addressing Jesus.
When I did it, I felt awkward for a while but then I began to become more comfortable and open up to Jesus about the things that were bothering me at the time. “It hurts me when I see my mother mourning over the death of her mother.” “It hurts me when I see my wife struggle through some health problems.” “It hurts me when people get dismissed by others simply because of their social status.” “It hurts me when friends of mine struggle with addiction.” “It hurts me when people I know lose their job.” “It hurts me when people in my church treat others in many ways that are not like Christ.” And on and on I went detailing my frustrations, my fears, and my yearning for things to be made right.
Finally, when I shut up, I just sat there. I wasn’t really expecting a reply I just felt good getting all these things off my chest and paused out of exhaustion in a way. But then I heard a reply. It wasn’t audible or mystical but just a still small voice saying these four words, “It hurts me too.” I can not tell you how comforting those four words were for me. Jesus was simply letting me know that he is bothered by these things too and that I am not alone and that he wants to comfort me and that if there is anyone who can make these things right it was him. And that it was for these things that he came and died and was resurrected so that his followers could be free from the chains of evil and brokenness that make up this world.
At that moment, I knew what real hope felt like and I knew what it meant to truly trust Christ with my problems and frustrations. It was one of the most unique and special times in my spiritual life.
I encourage you to try it. You may have to wait till everyone in your house has gone to bed or get up a little earlier than normal. But just take any chair and begin to pour out your frustrations at the feet of Jesus. Your experience may not be exactly like mine but I guarantee you you will come away from the exercise with a sweet sense of Christ’s comforting, merciful, and loving presence.