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When it's hard to believe on Friday

"By His wounds we are healed."

Do you ever not believe that? Are there times for you, as there are for me, that you doubt the truth in that statement? Because life is full of hurt and disappointments and injuring experiences. Because I am so sinful that while on the outside to others I display strength and trust and wholeness, sometimes when I look in the mirror, I see deeper than the mere reflection and have to look away. Because I battle with patterns of brokenness that appear to have no end--weaknesses and failures in me that I cannot seem to overcome.

And I cry out for healing, for change, for a miracle, and it. doesn't. come. No light at the end of the tunnel. Just silence. And darkness.

And with Jesus I cry out, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" God---Don't you promise to heal? Don't you WANT me to be more holy? Don't you want me to have victory? Isn't that where glory is found? Victory over sin and death and an empty tomb?! Where is this resurrection Sunday power on display in me?? Because frankly some days, many days, I feel stuck in the Friday.

At least I'm in good company on Friday. With Jesus. A man of sorrows acquainted with grief. A Man who understands like no one can what it feels like to face silence. And darkness.

And [pausing for a moment] this is strange, is it not? He was not the grandiose, celebrated, esteemed central figure one would expect from a major religious movement in the world. This day, Friday--a day that changed history forever-- was a day of grief. sadness. pain. suffering. No parades, no celebrating, no coronations or feasts. It was a day of death. On the surface not a compelling, hope-filled beginning for a revolutionary faith system.

Of course I know the end of the story. Of course I know Sunday is coming. Of course I know-- it's just 2 days, it's just 2 days.... but right now, it's Friday. What hope do I have for today?

But maybe this day is full of glory of its own. Maybe not a sun-shining, white-robe, flowers-blooming kind of glory. But a different glory. Glory in suffering. And I get it for Jesus--look at what he accomplished through His suffering! Salvation for mankind, undeserved righteousness for His children. But for me? Do these wounds, this brokenness, do they accomplish anything?

And I remember I read somewhere--God says they do.

For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us
an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison.
(2 Cor 5:17)
Glory? On Friday?

And so I trust. All of it doesn't feel light or momentary, but I chose to believe the wisdom of an infinite God over my own finite emotions and perceptions. As Jesus cried out "MY God, MY God...", I too cry out to MY Father who loves me, who made me and knows me and loves me as I am today, on Friday, in my broken state. He sees my wounds and my scars and promises that though He feels far away, He is in fact as near as my breath. He is here with me.

And He gently tells me to kneel here. On Friday. At the cross. He tells me to have the courage to look up and take in the scene unfolding. Look at my suffering Savior hanging there, broken body and blood flowing, and know that is my rightful place. Look at Jesus, willing to suffer and endure because He knows I am unable to heal myself. Leave my sin and shame at this place, at this cross, and weep for the loss and the subsequent gain found in this sacrifice.

By his wounds we are healed. I am healed.

Wounds come first. I cannot be healed unless I am in a state of woundedness.

And I am healed, not in the way I sometimes wish for. I am healed to hope and trust, to purpose, and I am healed to intimacy with my Creator, my Savior. And somewhere in that, in my mess, is glory revealed. A miracle.

Yes, Sunday is coming, but today is Friday, and I don't want to miss the glory found here.

Who has believed our message?
To whom has the Lord revealed his powerful arm?
My servant grew up in the Lord’s presence like a tender green shoot,
like a root in dry ground.
There was nothing beautiful or majestic about his appearance,
nothing to attract us to him.
He was despised and rejected—
a man of sorrows, acquainted with deepest grief.
We turned our backs on him and looked the other way.
He was despised, and we did not care.

Yet it was our weaknesses he carried;
it was our sorrows that weighed him down.
And we thought his troubles were a punishment from God,
a punishment for his own sins!

But he was pierced for our rebellion,
crushed for our sins.
He was beaten so we could be whole.
He was whipped so we could be healed.
All of us, like sheep, have strayed away.
We have left God’s paths to follow our own.
Yet the Lord laid on him
the sins of us all.

He was oppressed and treated harshly,
yet he never said a word.
He was led like a lamb to the slaughter.
And as a sheep is silent before the shearers,
he did not open his mouth.
Unjustly condemned,
he was led away.
No one cared that he died without descendants,
that his life was cut short in midstream.
But he was struck down
for the rebellion of my people.
He had done no wrong
and had never deceived anyone.
But he was buried like a criminal;
he was put in a rich man’s grave.

But it was the Lord’s good plan to crush him
and cause him grief.
Yet when his life is made an offering for sin,
he will have many descendants.
He will enjoy a long life,
and the Lord’s good plan will prosper in his hands.
When he sees all that is accomplished by his anguish,
he will be satisfied.
And because of his experience,
my righteous servant will make it possible
for many to be counted righteous,
for he will bear all their sins.
I will give him the honors of a victorious soldier,
because he exposed himself to death.
He was counted among the rebels.
He bore the sins of many and interceded for rebels.

Isaiah 53, NLT



To God be the Glory! said...

Literally I too cry out...all of the time. Thank you so much for your beautiful blog!

Connie said...

Ditto to what Barbara said! I needed this today friend. love you

Anonymous said...

Always have loved you---I revel in your faith!