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At my local church’s noon day bible study, we are watching the “Easter Experience.” Episode 3 reminded of just how much Jesus endured—the beating, mocking and humiliation—that qualifies Him to know the depth of my pain. He knows about…
- Emotional pain. He experienced grief, anger and agony. He knows how it hurts to be mocked, ridiculed, falsely accused.
- Relational pain. He experienced rejection and betrayal. Those he had walked with for three or more years deserted Him in the hour they should have stood in support of Him. After all, they were eye-witnesses to His compassion and care for them and the multitudes He ministered to. Yet, they denied their relationship to Him and ran away leaving Him alone.
- Physical pain. He experienced physical pain. Can you imagine being beaten as if tenderizing meat before cooking it? Or the blood that streamed and splattered after each pulverizing blow? Can you image the severe pain when a crown of thorns was placed on His head?
It was a flinching reaction for me just watching the Roman soldiers, who were experts at beating a man. But this was not just any man; this Man was innocent! He had committed no sin or did no wrong. This was Jesus, the Beloved Son of God, being beaten. His body was being crushed so that we can be healed and whole! His blood was shed so that we could be forgiven and cleansed from sin. It was an emotional moment as I watched the blood splatter and the soldiers gasping for breath because they were exhausted from beating this innocent Man unmercifully.
Then, my perspective changed when I remembered Isaiah 53:
He is despised and rejected by men,
A Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief.
And we hid, as it were, our faces from Him;
He was despised, and we did not esteem Him. Surely He has borne our griefs
And carried our sorrows;
Yet we esteemed Him stricken,
Smitten by God, and afflicted. But He was wounded for our transgressions,
He was bruised for our iniquities;
The chastisement for our peace was upon Him,
And by His stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray;
We have turned, every one, to his own way;
And the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed and He was afflicted,
Yet He opened not His mouth;
He was led as a lamb to the slaughter,
And as a sheep before its shearers is silent,
So He opened not His mouth.
Then my perspective changed when realized it should have been me. This realization birthed in me eternal gratitude, which will always be expressed in my prayer: “Thank You, Lord for suffering in my place!” I am so grateful that we don’t have a High Priest who is out of touch with our reality. He’s been through weakness and testing, experienced it all—all but the sin. So in prayer I will always walk right up to him and get what he is so ready to give. Take the mercy, accept the help.
Listen to my prayer, O God.
Do not ignore my cry for help!
2 Please listen and answer me,
for I am overwhelmed by my troubles.
3 My enemies shout at me,
making loud and wicked threats.
They bring trouble on me
and angrily hunt me down.
My heart pounds in my chest.
The terror of death assaults me.
5 Fear and trembling overwhelm me,
and I can’t stop shaking.
6 Oh, that I had wings like a dove;
then I would fly away and rest!
7 I would fly far away
far from this wild storm of hatred.
Life happens! Day after day or week after week there is something to deal with that can cause overwhelming anguish.
Have you ever felt like God was ignoring your cry for help? Have you ever felt like God doesn’t care about your troubles?
I know I’m not the only one that has felt like the psalmist in the above Scriptures. Have you ever just wanted to get away from it all—ESCAPE? That would be the easy way out…fly away from it all. But notice what the psalmist said, “Oh, that I had wings like a dove; then I would fly away and rest! I would fly far away far from this wild storm of hatred.” But the truth is we don’t have wings like a dove to fly away! Since we don’t have wings flying away is not an option to escape from troubles. Just in case you’re thinking suicide is a way of escape….No! It’s an easy way out with eternal damnation (Judas, the son of perdition, Jesus’ betrayer, Matthew 27:3-5, John 17:12), and leaves an overwhelming burden on others to feel guilty and responsible for your lack of faith and feelings of hopelessness and despair due to life’s troubles. Don’t let the cares of life, guilt from past mistakes make you take the easy way out! Fight for your life and surrender your all to Christ…He loves you even if you “feel” like He does. It’s by faith that you receive His gift of salvation, not by feelings.
So how do you deal with troubles? How do you deal with the violence and wickedness you see? How do you handle broken relationship—friends who are now your enemies? Although it may feel as if God is ignoring you, believe that He hears and will answer. Don’t stop believing; don’t stop praying. Do just as the psalmist said in verse sixteen, “But I will call on God, and the LORD will rescue me. Morning, noon, and night I cry out in my distress and the LORD hears my voice.” And he continues in verse twenty-two, “Give your burdens to the LORD, and He will take care of you. He will not permit the godly to slip and fall.”
Jesus Christ is our example. Judas was His friend turned enemy and betrayed Him. Jesus was overwhelmed with anguish in the Garden of Gethsemane, but He continued to cry out to Father. But more important, Jesus committed Himself to the Father, who rescued Him (Luke 23:46), and rewarded Him. And, because Jesus was rescued and rewarded, we reap the benefits (Isaiah 53:10-12).
Yes! Life happens! Day after day, week after week there is something to deal with that can cause overwhelming anguish, but as Believers in the all-powerful God, we continue to cry out for help, and believe He will rescue us. Our escape has already been provided. Our life is hidden with Christ in God (Colossians 3:3). We don’t live on feelings, we live by faith in the Son of God
Persist in prayer!