Pain or comfort?
Isaiah 53: 11 (KJV)
11 He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities.
Sometimes when I read the Bible, and more often lately, I just feel this mismatch between what I see there and what we say at church.
It’s not that we said, or say, the wrong things, or untrue things, it’s just . . . well it’s what’s behind those things we say.
I think we are trying to sell comfort to people who are really in pain.
“So what’s wrong with that? People in pain need comfort, right?”
Well, we are saying that God will rescue you from your pain, and that a relationship with
God will bring more comfort in your life. . .
But. . .
That’s not true.
“WHAT!?!? How dare you say that!”
I’ve believed in Jesus for a long time, but the pandemic has still been painful for me. George Floyd, a Black man was killed by police in the neighbourhood where I currently serve, and that has been incredibly painful. In fact, that is painful because of my faith, because I know it’s wrong, but I feel helplessness around righting the problem.
Look at Jesus. The hero of our faith, the summary of all that is right and good in the world…
Was violently tortured and killed.
Isaiah prophesied that he would Travail, that he would bear others’ iniquities. That is the opposite of comfortable life. It also says that the messiah would be satisfied, and justify many.
His pain produced something good.
Maybe it’s worth looking at our theology of pain and comfort. Especially now in these turbulent times. What might God produce from the pain in our lives today?
Dear Jesus, in these painful times we look to the crucified Christ. We connect with your pain on the cross. Give us courage to face the pain in our lives. We stand in wonder of what you might do with our own pain.
Lent Legacy 2021 Action
Choose a Bible verse (it could be Isaiah 53: 11) and make a commitment to read it every morning this week.