Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Because He Lives: He Understands Your Pain

  (Part of a series sharing my devotional thoughts from almost two decades ago. For the back story & links to other posts, see the first post in the series.)

Sometimes people tell us they understand something that we know they have no possible way of understanding. How can a vibrant young person truly understand the hurt of a senior citizen losing her ability to take care of herself? Or how can someone with no children empathize with a stressed mother of seven? On a more personal note, you may be wondering how anyone else can truly understand your pain, the things you have been through, when perhaps you’re too hurt to even verbalize them yourself.
As you have seen, God hates violence and evil. But more than just hating what you may have endured, God truly understands. How do I know such a thing? Because Scripture records the many horrible abuses and persecutions He endured Himself. To recount all of them would take many pages, but Isaiah 53:3-5 summarizes the type of treatment He endured:
“He was despised and forsaken of men, a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; and like one from whom men hide their face, He was despised, and we did not esteem Him. Surely our griefs He Himself bore, and our sorrows He carried; Yet we ourselves esteemed Him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, and by His scourging we are healed.”

When God came to earth as a man, Jesus Christ, He knew He would be despised and forsaken, pierced and crushed through crucifixion. He endured much humiliation -- being spat upon, beaten, mocked; being displayed naked on a cross while people below taunted Him;  and ultimately dying. And as this passage from Isaiah explains, it was for US -- for OUR sins -- and through all He endured we are healed. 2 Corinthians 5:21 says, “He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”
You probably would never have voluntarily chosen your wounds. Yet Jesus Christ did just that -- He voluntarily chose to come to earth knowing He would endure this kind of treatment -- simply because He loves us so very much. “In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation [acceptable sacrifice] for our sins” (1 John 4:10).
So when your pain is so deep that you wonder if anyone possibly understands, and you feel emotionally numb -- remember, Jesus understands your pain and He really cares about you. Take your wounds to the One who was wounded for you, who suffered and endured more than you can imagine out of love for you, for me, and for all those who have ever been born.
Because, my friend, He understands. He truly understands.

“And they dressed Him up in purple, and after weaving a crown of thorns, they put it on Him; and they began to acclaim Him, ‘Hail, King of the Jews!’ And they kept beating His head with a reed, and spitting at Him, and kneeling and bowing before Him....And they crucified Him, and divided up His garments among themselves, casting lots for them, to decide what each should take. And it was the third hour when they crucified Him....And those passing by were hurling abuse at Him, wagging their heads, and saying, ‘Ha! You who were going to destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days, save Yourself, and come down from the cross!’...And at the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, ‘Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?’ which is translated, ‘My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?’...And Jesus uttered a loud cry, and breathed His last.”
Mark 15:17-19, 24-25, 29-30, 34, 37

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