By: Kelly Fonteijn
Begin with 2 minutes of silence
Scripture Isaiah 53:4-6 (NIV) 4Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered him punished by God, stricken by him, and afflicted. 5But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed. 6We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.
Devotional Thoughts I have noticed something during our family’s sabbatical. Everyone we meet in Croatia looks pretty good on the outside; like they have it all together. But conversations with each person I’ve met here reveal that if I “scratch the surface” in hearing about their lives and stories, there’s pain. A LOT of pain. Even, and maybe especially, among people that love and follow Jesus. I’ve talked to a woman who was hospitalized for schizophrenia for years. We met an amazing young man who is battling a life-threatening disease. Women my age whose husbands left them during the pandemic, either through divorce or suicide.
Huh. People outside of America fight similar battles as Americans do! No one is exempt from suffering.
Isaiah paints the picture of a suffering savior. He was “crushed,” “stricken” “afflicted” and “pierced.” Isaiah says that the Messiah takes on this suffering willingly; he chooses into suffering of his own accord to save and heal us. Somehow, mysteriously, being in this place of intense agony is God’s will. BUT everyone misunderstands; they think God is punishing him! The Gospels paint a picture of people who see Jesus on the cross. These people disbelievingly mock Jesus, his identity, his mission…they spit poison at him. It would be easy, as Jesus, in such intense pain, to believe the mockers are correct and God has it “in for him” instead of trusting God. After all, what they are saying about him looks true in the circumstances, right?
God is a good father. Jesus knows this truth with every fiber of his being, even when the opposite appears true due to his circumstances. Jesus chooses to trust God and remain in the center of his Father’s will when it means suffering for himself. The suffering was not pointless, nor random. It brought about salvation for us all, because the Father loves all of us so much!
Question to Consider Who do you choose to listen to when you are in pain? Are you listening to mockers, to cynics, and to disbelievers? Or do you listen to God’s voice whispering to trust him through the suffering?
Prayer Jesus, you are with me in suffering and know better than anyone what it feels like to suffer. There are so many voices in the world that mock you and don’t believe a good God could allow anyone to suffer. Help me to listen to you instead of them. God, you are a good father who loves me and I choose to trust you.
End with 2 minutes of silence