To say this has not been a good morning is a bit of an understatement, and it is only 8:00 AM! It stared with a beard trimming accident that led to me having a bare lip and a cold chin this morning. From there it went downhill. culminating with a shouting match between me and a certain 17 year old who lives in our home. So here I sit in the quiet of the upstairs of my favorite coffee shop Mocha Monkey, with a double chocolate muffin and a bottomless cup of Bavarian Chocolate coffee, trying to collect my thoughts. It just seemed like a double chocolate morning. (FYI: I now know something I didn’t know when I woke up this morning – I don’t like double chocolate muffins)
Last night at the opening of our Church Council meeting we shared together the words of Isaiah 53. They still echo in my head this morning, as I enjoy my self imposed pity party I hear Isaiah say, “He was despised and rejected by men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief.”(Is. 53:3a) My mind tries to tell me that line is mine today. And in some ways I must admit it seems to fit and feel all to familiar in my world many days.
But all I need to do is read just a little further and my story does not even in the slightest bare any resemblance to the one Isaiah writes about.
3 He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering. Like one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
4 Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him, and afflicted.
5 But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed.
6 We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all.
7 He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth.
8 By oppression and judgment he was taken away. And who can speak of his descendants? For he was cut off from the land of the living; for the transgression of my people he was stricken.
9 He was assigned a grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death, though he had done no violence, nor was any deceit in his mouth.
10 Yet it was the LORD’s will to crush him and cause him to suffer, and though the LORD makes his life a guilt offering, he will see his offspring and prolong his days, and the will of the LORD will prosper in his hand.
These powerful words of God, spoken by the prophet Isaiah some 750 years before the birth of Christ, are hauntingly accurate. They tell the story of my suffering servant, Jesus my Christ. The one who Isaiah says who “bore the sins of many, and makes intercession for the transgressors.” (Is 53:12)
For all the sorrow, anger, grief, of this or any day I have NEVER be stricken, smitten or afflicted by God. I have never known, and will never know what it means to be crushed by God. I have been corrected, taught, allowed to stumble, and even disciplined, all while being held, protected, sheltered, and loved with a love that this side of Heaven will never be understood by this frail pile of dust.
As the praise of us rock heads (see Luke 19:38-40) prepares to rise up this Palm Sunday, I look on these words of Isaiah in a new and fresh way. I see in them not only a Savior who took on him sorrow, grief and punishment for my sin, The burden of which I could never bear. I see in them a Savior who bore all of that because of my sin. I am the recipient of God’s Amazing grace. I am also the one who caused sorrow, pain, and death – the likes of which today as I reflect on Christ Passion leave me speechless!
As I filter my day through the perspective I gain from Isaiah I see my beadless, shouting, double chocolate, morning as a Good day in the redeeming arms of my Savior. So I surrender myself to his strong and forgiving embrace this morning, and pray His abiding presence on me, my family, and all I come in contact with today!