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

Only God’s Truth Can Fill Up What Bullies Take Away

“You see, we have a bucket inside of us,” She spread her little fingers across her heart. “When someone is mean to us, it empties our bucket. But if they say they are sorry or if they say something nice, it puts something back into our buckets.”

“Oh, I see… So if I say ‘Kamryn, I love you. You are so special,’ will that overflow your bucket?” Her face beamed as if to say, “Yes! You got it, Grandma!”

This story my grand-daughter heard nearly four years ago in Pre-Kindergarten concerning bullying really touched my heart. So simple, yet so profound. Scoop by scoop, condemning remarks can empty us of our security in who we really are. We can start basing our value on what others say instead of who God says we are.

We can become our own bully when we believe the lies cast on us by others or by Satan: What is wrong with me? I’m so ugly. I’m so dumb. I’m not good enough. I don’t deserve to be happy. I’m not worth it. I’m unlovable. I’m not strong enough. I can never do it as well as he/she can, so why even try?  And on and on… Shovelfuls of the “me God created us to be” go flying out of our buckets until there is nothing left to give.

Do you beat yourself up a lot? I’ll admit I do. I have a hard time liking myself. I wonder if it’s prideful or selfish to be kind to myself. But I am learning inch by inch that it’s not only ok to love ourselves, but it’s what God wants. This is not about self-adoration or narcissism. It’s about appreciating the unique person God created us to be.

“When you wound yourself with your words,
it’s the same to God as if you were doing it to someone else in your life.
Jesus said to love our neighbors as ourselves.
That means all of the ‘one another’ statements in Scripture
(i.e. be kind to one another, encourage one another)
apply in our relationship with ourselves too.”
Holley Gerth

So how can we be kind to ourselves? By filling our emptied buckets with God’s Truth. A solid, secure Truth that no one can steal from us. A Truth that will more than fill up what self-criticism or others’ bullying comments have robbed from us.

Every word of God proves true.
    He is a shield to all who come to Him for protection.”

Proverbs 30:5

God’s Truth for our emptied, wounded hearts:

💞 I am wonderfully made. (Psalm 139:14)

💞 I am His masterpiece, created anew in Christ Jesus. (Ephesians 2:10)

💞 I am redeemed with the blood of Jesus. (Isaiah 43:1)

💞 There is no condemnation for me when I belong to Jesus. (Romans 8:1)

💞 I am precious and honored. (Isaiah 43:4)

💞 I am His royalty, a crown of splendor in His hand. (Isaiah 62:3)

💞 I am His own special treasure. (Malachi 3:17)

💞 Nothing will ever be able to separate me from the love of God. (Romans 8:37-39)

💞 Because of His faithful love and mercy, I will never perish. (Lamentations 3:22)

💞 He will restore my ruins. He will rebuild what is broken. (Isaiah 44:26)

💞 He fills my emptiness with good things. (Psalm 107:9)

💞 I can do all things through Jesus who gives me strength. (Philippians 4:13)

We can’t always control the inward and outward bullies in our lives, but we can learn to be better equipped to handle them, both past and present. We can allow Jesus to fill our emptiness with His Truth, His healing, and His love. Then we will be able to base our identity, not in those negative voices, but in Jesus, who emptied Himself so our emptiness can be filled with Him. In Him, we are redeemed. In Him, we are secure. In Him, we are free.

“Beautiful”
by MercyMe

Ugly Becomes Beautiful Through God’s Lens

God's-Lens

As I glanced out the patio door, a beautiful butterfly fluttered down. My heart quickened, and I bent down and carefully peeked through the blinds.

What?! Are my eyes playing tricks on me? All I saw was a dead, colorless, rumpled leaf. But the picture of a butterfly is still vivid in my memory. Bright yellow with black veins running through it. Almost like a monarch, only yellow instead of orange.

It must be a special gift from God. Butterflies always remind me of His faithful love. He whispers, “Yes, My child, I am here. Always. I will take care of you.”

It’s a blessing when we can look through God’s special lens to see beauty in the ugly.

When we look at the pain and devastation in our lives through our own lens, we feel so fragile, crushed, and forsaken. We may feel like that shriveled up leaf. Tossed about. Dried up. Insignificant.

We will see differently when we put on God’s lens of love:

A dried up leaf becomes a dazzling butterfly.

Jesus and the sacrifice He has given for us becomes reality as our ugliness transforms into a lovely child of God, so precious in His sight.

His compassion soothes our hearts as we learn how perfectly He understands us and how He collects every single tear into His bottle.

The ashes of loss and broken dreams brush into place in the masterpiece the Divine Artist is painting.

We see God is still on the throne, and He works every single pain for our good and to His glory.

When we’re downhearted, depressed, and in despair, it’s hard to see that God really does love us and is always with us no matter what. But if we can surrender our lens of lies into His hands and reach out in faith to gaze through His lens, we see the truth that His love transforms us into beautiful butterflies. We see He is faithfully holding us together. We see His promise of a glorious future.

Then we can trust all the answers to our questions will surely come in His time and way. We can stop holding onto our own way and let ourselves be held in His grace-filled arms. Is it easy? No. But He promises to give us the strength we need to keep taking one step at a time.

“For God so [greatly] loved and dearly prized the world,
that He [even] gave His [One and] only begotten Son,
so that whoever believes and trusts in Him [as Savior]
shall not perish, but have eternal life.”
John 3:16 AMP

“You keep track of all my sorrows.
You have collected all my tears in Your bottle.
You have recorded each one in Your book.”
Psalm 56:8 NLT

“And we know that in all things God works
for the good of those who love Him,
who have been called according to His purpose.”
Romans 8:28 NIV

A Child's Trust “Just Be Held”
by Casting Crowns

signature3