He was wounded because of our rebellious deeds, crushed because of our sins; he endured punishment that made us well; because of his wounds we have been healed (Isaiah 53:5, New English Translation).
As a counseling intern I work with people who have many hurts. They have experienced grief, loss, abuse, mental illness brought on by chemicals, low self-esteem, and the list goes on. They, though, are not the only ones who have experienced hurt. Emotional pain is a human condition that is common to all people. You cannot live long without suffering.
A time when I suffered was over Easter weekend a number of years ago when I miscarried. I had resigned my teaching position for the following school year to have my second child and be able to spend more time with my family. At the Easter sunrise service when we sang “I Know That My Redeemer Lives” I was comforted by the resurrection story.
This was not my first time to suffer emotional pain, nor would it be my last. In fact, I went on to have two more miscarriages before getting pregnant with my son Christian. That Easter service was significant for me because I received the comfort of Christ in his resurrection, and I carried that experience with me to other times of sorrow.
The death and resurrection of Christ are indeed healing. I once interviewed a wise woman who had started a transitional housing program for women coming out of prison. She shared that all of those women had made poor choices because of hurts they had suffered in their lives. They needed to know that Jesus had taken both their sins and their sufferings to the cross. Only by knowing Christ’s suffering would they experience healing in their lives.
As we ponder the Holy Week this week, know that Christ has taken your suffering to the cross. He suffered for you. He also suffered in every way you have suffered. Jesus suffered family tension when his mother and brother tried to pull him away from ministry, he was homeless, he cried over the death of a friend and over the faithlessness of Jerusalem, he was betrayed by a follower, he was mocked, ridiculed, beaten, and killed. He suffered all this out of love for us.
Christ not only suffered for you: he also rose for you. He desires that you take your suffering to the cross where he takes it from you. Just as Jesus rose from the dead, he desires that you rise from the ashes of your pain and experience joy. So take Jesus’ hand and walk into Good Friday and Easter Sunday with him.
May you experience the joy of the Lord.