Lenten Meditation–Acquainted With Grief

Detail from "Descent from the Cross" by Rogier van der Weyden

A man of sorrows and acquainted with grief
Isaiah 53:3

There is a tsunami of tears overflowing our small community tonight.  When a healthy wife, mother, teacher, former missionary, active volunteer in church and school is suddenly stricken by a virulent pneumonia and taken from us in a matter of four days, there can never be an end to tears shed. Sorrow at her loss fills a chasm so deep and dark that it is a fearsome thing to even peer from the edge, as I do.  Her family and close friends have surely fallen inside, swallowed up by their grief, uncertain if they will ever be recovered.

We can never understand why inexplicable tragedy befalls such good and gracious people, taking them when they are not yet finished with their selfless work on earth.  From quakes that topple buildings burying people to waves that wipe out whole cities and sweep away thousands of people, to a pathogen too swift and powerful for all the weapons of modern medicine,  we are reminded every day–we live on perilous ground and our time here is finite.

There is assurance in knowing we do not weep alone.  Our grief is so familiar to a suffering God who too wept at the death of a friend, who cried out when asked to endure the unendurable.

There is comfort in knowing He understands and overcomes all peril to come to our rescue.

Advent Meditation–Man of Sorrows

In my work, I see sorrow daily.  It can look very different depending on the individual and circumstances, manifesting as a headache, or stomach ache, or back ache, or it can look like the tear streaked face of the deepest soul ache.  Too often it is from the distress borne out of the sadness of broken relationships, from abandonment, betrayal, and dishonesty.  Sorrow is a response to overwhelming sin.

What I don’t see often is the crushing weight of someone taking full responsibility for another’s sin.  Imagine offering oneself up , accepting punishment for something one has not done, making the ultimate sacrifice to pay off another’s debt, to walk the earth every day knowing the suffering that will be necessary for all this to happen as planned.

We are told Jesus wept.   He knew soul ache first hand, but the ache was for our souls, his sorrow for us.

He entrusts his broken body to us,  his blood spilling at our feet.   All we are asked to do is hold him and love him.  And the ache will go away.

Isaiah 53:3