Jesus’ Suffering Became Our Healing

“But He was hurt because of us; He suffered so.
Our wrongdoing wounded and crushed Him.
He endured the breaking that made us whole.
The injuries He suffered became our healing.”
Isaiah 53:5 Voice

Have you been hurt in your life? Is your pain so deep it takes your breath away? Do you feel like you’ll never climb out of the dungeon of darkness? Hopeless. Helpless. Alone.

Abuse of any kind can cause deep pain and devastation in our hearts and lives. We can even wonder where God was or is. It can take a lifetime of healing.

I was confused and distrustful of God for many years. But now I know and believe He would never, ever hurt us like that. He would never, ever abuse us in the name of love. He would never, ever steal our voices and grind the very essence of who we are into the dirt as if we are a good-for-nothing.

The older I get and the deeper He heals me, I see how He held me through it even when I didn’t see it at the time. The more He fills me with His love and grace, the more I see He values me. My identity is not in past abuse but in Jesus. And He alone practices the true meaning of love, because He is love Himself.

When people don’t believe us and slander us, God knows the truth and He will never, ever turn away from us. When people reject us and ostracize us, God will never, ever abandon us. When people judge and condemn us, God will never, ever condemn us.

“Therefore, there is now no condemnation
for those who are in Christ Jesus.”
Romans 8:28

Who has hurt you in your life? Who has treated you with disrespect and disdain? Who has ground your voice and the essence of who you are into the dirt?

God knows. God cares. God understands.

There is no one who has been wronged more than Jesus. There is not one thing we have suffered in life that He hasn’t experienced Himself. Can you see Jesus suffering under the load of our sin and the sin of those who have hurt us? The staff hammering down and piercing the crown of thorns into His head, the whip slashing open his skin, the slander, the mocking, the desertion of those He loves, the stripping and nakedness for all to see, the stretching of His body against the nails pounded into His hands and feet, forsaken by His Father, descended into hell. And oh, so much more than we can ever put in words. We can’t begin to describe the pain He endured. If we put the suffering of all mankind together, it would not even be a drop in the bottomless ocean of suffering He endured. And He did it for us!

He was broken so we could be healed. Isn’t that amazing?! If He didn’t count us as valuable treasures, He wouldn’t have done this for us. If He hadn’t done this, there would be no love. No grace. No hope. Ever.

It takes a fathomless love to suffer unspeakable agony like He endured. Not for Himself, but for us. Because of Him and what He suffered, there will always be hope for the hopeless. Healing for the broken. Strength for the helpless.

The Lord
who made you
knows just what you need.
The Lord
who heals you
knows just where you hurt.
The Lord
who loves you
knows just what to do.

(From the front of a greeting card)

“When Life Gets Broken”
by Sandi Patty

Jesus Invites Us To Come Just As We Are

Do you ever feel useless? Perhaps you’re limited physically or emotionally and can’t do what your heart really wants to do? Maybe you see others so busy helping others, but you have no energy to get out there yourself?

Charlotte Elliott knew what that felt like. Her carefree life began in 1789 but drastically changed in her early thirties when a severe illness devastated her life. She spent the next 50 years of her life as an invalid in terrible pain, weakness, and exhaustion.

She began to blame God for making her a prisoner. Depression cast a deep darkness on her soul. Her anger turned to bitterness.

One day a Swiss evangelist came to see her. He talked of peace and joy and read God’s Word to her. She lashed out at him and God, and he told her she had become bitter and resentful. God convicted her, and she confessed that she didn’t know how to come to Christ. He counseled her, “You have nothing of merit to bring to God. You must come just as you are.”

That day became a turning point in her life as she grasped onto Jesus as her Savior. God didn’t take her affliction away, but she knew she had the Anchor of Hope to hold onto, and that He would give her sufficient grace.

Still, she sometimes struggled and became depressed. She felt so useless, especially when she saw those around her always busy with some service for God.

The night before a charity bazaar her family prepared for, she couldn’t sleep because of deep distress. Doubts ravaged her spirit. Had God rejected her?

The day of the bazaar, she was alone at home, confined by her sickness. All the distressing thoughts of the night hit her again. She knew they could only be conquered by the grace of God. As she gathered up the promises of God in her soul, she recalled the words from her spiritual mentor to come to Christ just as we are.

She then, at the age of 45, penned the words of a much-loved hymn – “Just As I Am.” Later on, it was published and has been a comfort to many souls of God’s unconditional love for close to two centuries.

A woman who felt useless was used by God for far more people that she ever knew. Still today, her words spread hope to the hopeless that God wants us to come to Him just as we are, resting only on the blood of Jesus that He shed for us.

Do you see Jesus’ arms of love stretched out inviting us to “Come!” No matter how useless we feel. No matter how hopeless we feel. No matter how rejected we feel. He desires to wrap us in His arms of bottomless, unconditional love and free grace. It’s not about what we do for Him. It’s about what He has done for us.

“For it is by grace you have been saved,
through faith — and this is not from yourselves,
it is the gift of God — not by works,
so that no one can boast.”
Ephesians 2:8-9

“Just as I am – without one plea,
But that Thy blood was shed for me,
And that Thou bidst me come to Thee,
– O Lamb of God, I come!
Just as I am – and waiting not
To rid my soul of one dark blot,
To Thee, whose blood can cleanse each spot,
– O Lamb of God, I come!
Just as I am – though toss’d about
With many a conflict, many a doubt,
Fightings and fears within, without,
– O Lamb of God, I come!
Just as I am – poor, wretched, blind;
Sight, riches, healing of the mind,
Yea, all I need, in Thee to find,
– O Lamb of God, I come!
Just as I am – Thou wilt receive,
Wilt welcome, pardon, cleanse, relieve;
Because Thy promise I believe,
– O Lamb of God, I come!
Just as I am – Thy love unknown
Has broken every barrier down;
Now to be Thine, yea, Thine alone,
– O Lamb of God, I come!
Just as I am – of that free love
The breadth, length, depth, and height to prove,
Here for a season, then above,
– O Lamb of God, I come!”

A Flight of Hope for the Broken-Hearted

Do you ever feel trapped by all the bad things that happened in your life? Weighted down with grief over all the losses that left you feeling so devastated? Are you brokenhearted and crushed in spirit?

I had heard about “Flight of Hope” where loved ones are honored in the releasing of butterflies, but I had never experienced it. In the summer of 2011, a radio station announced this yearly event was taking place that afternoon. On a whim, an hour before it started, I decided to go.

My daughter-in-law and four grandkids picked me up and we were just going to observe, but I ended up purchasing one of their extra butterflies.

I told them my parents’ names, but in my heart I was also thinking how much I wanted to let go of the bad things in my life. Let go of all the pain but also the hidden grudges I have in my heart against those who have hurt me, whether through abuse or slander or lack of support, etc. That deep-seated bitterness I may not even be aware I have. That sense of betrayal that builds walls against meaningful relationships. That false shame that holds me back from feeling the freedom there is in Jesus.

Inspirational singing, stories, and Bible references resonated under the dome in Sertoma Park. As I held the wax envelope that confined the wings of my Monarch butterfly, we wondered, “Is he even alive?” Then music started and he began to move his wings and two front legs like he was pleading, “Let me out, let me out, let me out…”

I felt such a kinship with that butterfly and my heart ached to free him to fly. A deep yearning cried out in my soul, “Please free me, Lord, and let me fly free for YOU!”

I marveled how God in His grace freed my mom and dad through His salvation and then by taking them to Himself. Nothing fetters them anymore. Jesus, You have paid the price for them. Help me to let go of any clinging hurts and dwell only on the good memories You have given because of their presence in my life.

When their names were called, I carefully opened my envelope and let the butterfly crawl into my hand, but it flew away so quickly that the photo showed empty hands and mouthed “ohs.”

Then some gals from the sponsors saw us and let my grandkids hold a couple of extra butterflies. My heart rejoiced to see their awe and delight!

Those memories still linger in my heart. My faithful God’s blessings to a doubting soul like me just keep on multiplying.

My heart lifted with hope that day, but events like these don’t always immediately dissipate our pain. However, they can help us to take the next step in the healing process.

We all go through the grieving process in different ways.
What works for one may not always work for another.
Still, we all need to go through it in order to heal or cope.
What works for you?

AseraCare Hospice sponsors these events as a way to recognize and help families of patients with their grieving process. They chose the butterfly as a symbol of hope and transition.

Flight of Hope 2016

LORD, please wrap all hurting souls in Your love.
Please help us through the grieving process.

Even when our losses are not known to people
or are known but not understood by others,
You know and understand every pain in our hearts.
You care so much and You cry with us!
You have invited all who are broken to find
healing in Your arms of unconditional love.
Thank You, Lord, for Your willingness to
faithfully lead us through the grieving process.