I’ve been really touched as of late by a lot of things in the news. As I’ve written before, I have a tendency to be hyper-sensitive to bad news, but lately I’ve been virtually grief-stricken for the world as a whole. I feel the turpitudes of modern society are increasing at lightening speed. No longer the exception to the rule, I’m physically sickened to read the newspaper most every day. My spirit is literally weighed down when I think about the evil humans are capable of committing. Although this has been on my heart, I absolutely refuse to devote an entire blog entry to the subject of evilness. Simply put, I will not give Satan this much power.
Low and behold, what does God place upon my heart? Goodness! Grace! Empathy! Compassion! Mercy! Hope! The list goes on and on. Of course this has much to do with Holy Week—the days between Palm Sunday and Easter Sunday.
I’ve been reading Isaiah 53 a lot lately. This has come to be one of my all time favorite chapters of the Bible. I find Isaiah 53 paints the most moving portrait of God’s love for us. As I read the words of this chapter I feel (in my own heart) the same pain and anguish that God feels, over the death of His Son. These feelings of pain and anguish made me realize that if I am capable of feeling what God feels, then He is more than capable of feeling what I feel. I mean, after all, He created ME! If I’m grief-stricken about the downward spiral of humankind, just imagine how God feels. He is even more heartsick than I am because we are His creation.
But my thoughts don’t end here with the topic of sadness. My recognition that God feels what I do (and vice versa) made me realize that this carries over to gladness as well. If God and I feel the same anguish and pain then we also feel the same gladness and joy. I just don’t always take advantage of this. Shame on me. Seriously, shame on me for not always grasping the goodness God has placed in front of me. Why do I choose to dwell on the bad when I can rest in the good? God has given us hope in the life, death and resurrection of His Son, Jesus Christ. And in this hope He has given us the future certainty of life everlasting. I should be joyful! My pain and anguish are temporary. I will face many trials and tribulations as I walk through this life, but I will indeed persevere because of the sacrifice God ultimately made for us humans. This isn’t abstract thinking, it’s reality.
I need to change my focus. I need to feel the happiness and joy God feels. I need to not only experience His gladness, but embrace it—fully! His joy is there for the taking, I just need to reach out and grab it.
1 Who has believed our message
and to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed?
2 He grew up before him like a tender shoot,
and like a root out of dry ground.
He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him,
nothing in his appearance that we should desire him.
3 He was despised and rejected by men,
a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering.
Like one from whom men hide their faces
he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
4 Surely he took up our infirmities
and carried our sorrows,
yet we considered him stricken by God,
smitten by him, and afflicted.
5 But he was pierced for our transgressions,
he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was upon him,
and by his wounds we are healed.
6 We all, like sheep, have gone astray,
each of us has turned to his own way;
and the LORD has laid on him
the iniquity of us all.
7 He was oppressed and afflicted,
yet he did not open his mouth;
he was led like a lamb to the slaughter,
and as a sheep before her shearers is silent,
so he did not open his mouth.
8 By oppression and judgment he was taken away.
And who can speak of his descendants?
For he was cut off from the land of the living;
for the transgression of my people he was stricken.
9 He was assigned a grave with the wicked,
and with the rich in his death,
though he had done no violence,
nor was any deceit in his mouth.
10 Yet it was the LORD's will to crush him and cause him to suffer,
and though the LORD makes his life a guilt offering,
he will see his offspring and prolong his days,
and the will of the LORD will prosper in his hand.
11 After the suffering of his soul,
he will see the light of life and be satisfied;
by his knowledge my righteous servant will justify many,
and he will bear their iniquities.
12 Therefore I will give him a portion among the great,
and he will divide the spoils with the strong,
because he poured out his life unto death,
and was numbered with the transgressors.
For he bore the sin of many,
and made intercession for the transgressors.