“… His visage was so marred more than any man, and his form more than the sons of men” (Isaiah 52:4)
Man’s inhumanity to man is great. “For the dark places of the earth are full of the habitations of cruelty.” (Psalm 74:20) But there is no affliction, no injustice, that we can suffer that is greater than what Jesus suffered. He went before us. He is the captain of our salvation. He bore our griefs and carried our sorrows. The cruelty that warps and cripples us, caused His beauty to be all the more pronounced and remarkable.
We run from pain because we don’t like what it does to us. But of Christ we read: “The Lord GOD hath opened mine ear, and I was not rebellious, neither turned away back.I gave my back to the smiters, and my cheeks to them that plucked off the hair: I hid not my face from shame and spitting.” (Isa. 50:5,6)
Jesus took up the cross which our spirit can’t bear. To be crucified unjustly is intolerable to us. We cannot stand the injustice of it. To be mistreated causes us to become incensed and embittered – a spirit of hatred and vengeance fills our being. And yet, all our attempts at “payback” never bring us peace. Lashing out at others never heals our scars. Inflicting pain on another never brings consolation to our own wounded spirit. Our rage never gets put out through retaliation.
Healing can only be found in the stripes that Jesus bore. We may believe we have suffered more than our fair share in life. “Many a time have they afflicted me from my youth …” (Psalm 29:1) But we cannot “out suffer” our Lord. Yes, His face and form were marred more than any man, but His spirit and soul were preserved blameless through it all because of the grace of God that was at work in Him. He was Light in whom there was no darkness. The darkness tried to make Him one of its own, but could not. He would not be overcome by evil, but would overcome evil with good. And He alone is our hope of glory in the midst of a world that is unkind, unjust, and cruel.
When we hurt we long to find consolation somewhere, somehow. But consolation cannot be found anywhere in this world. No actions of our own can wipe away our pain. No words of another can alleviate our trauma. Abounding consolation and the deepest healing are only ours as we know Christ in the fellowship of His sufferings. In learning of Him we find rest for our soul.
“For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also aboundeth by Christ.” (2 Corinthians 1:5)