For reading & meditation – Isaiah 53
“… he … carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him, and afflicted.” (v. 4)
Dr. E. Stanley Jones said: “Christianity is the only religion that dares ask its followers to accept suffering as a gift from God, because it is the only religion that dares say God too has suffered.” Surely it must mean something to us, as Christians, to know that though living in this world is costing us pain, it is costing God more. But how much has God suffered? Some Christians think that the full extent of God’s sufferings were the hours in which He watched His Son die upon the cross, but it means much more than that. The Bible tells us that Christ was “the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world” (Rev. 13:8, KJV). That means that there was a cross set up in the heart of God long before there was a cross set up on the hill of Calvary. God’s sufferings began at the moment He planned the universe, and tugged at His heartstrings from the moment that He laid the foundations of the world. The pain of the cross must have pierced right through Him as He waited for that awful moment when His Son would die on Calvary. How long did He wait? Centuries? Millennia! Then finally it came – the awful screaming agony of crucifixion. Was this the end? No. Now His sufferings continue in the world’s rejection of His Son, and in the indifference of His children. So doesn?t it mean something, even everything, to know that, though living in this world is costing us pain, it is costing God more? I find this thought deeply comforting. I pray that you will too.
Prayer: Father, I realize that now I am looking into the heart of the deepest mystery of the universe – Your sacrificial love. Help me to understand this fully, for when I see this I see everything. Amen.