The Suffering Glory of the Servant Isaiah
He was despised and forsaken of men, A man of sorrows and acquainted with grief; and like one from whom men hide their face He was despised, and we did not esteem Him.
When our teenage daughter left home one night without our knowing it, it began one of the most difficult times of my life. She slipped out quietly after a disagreement. It had been a rough year for her—the entire family, really. Our daughter was going through an extremely insecure time. We found it hard to provide the guidance and security she needed to get through all the turbulence. Emotional escalations, hurtful exchanges, and countless worrisome nights were becoming the norm. Now she was gone. And whether it was rational or not, I felt like we might never see her again.
The stress and agonizing tick-tock of the clock as the hours passed were brutal. I remember lying prostrate before God in the dark of my closet. As I bared my soul, I felt so small in relation to his omniscience. Within ten minutes of that honest prayer, we received a call from her friend relaying that our daughter was in a safe place. Jesus had heard my prayer. His loving compassion touched my soul.
Jesus understands what it means to be separated from his Father. A man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. That prophetic description of Christ reminds us of the rejection and torment he was destined to experience. Yet, it also gives us great comfort. Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, asked the Father to remove the cup. And then we read, “And being in agony he was praying very fervently; and his sweat became like drops of blood, falling down upon the ground” (Luke 22:44).
My story has a happy ending. Our daughter returned home the next day. As the months passed, we healed and now she flourishes. In this season of Lent, we reflect on the Suffering Servant. Having been like us, Jesus understands our pains and sorrows like no other.
QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION: When have you experienced agony and sorrow that seemed unquenchable? Do you think of Jesus as the Suffering Servant... someone who deeply understands your pain?
PRAYER: Gracious Lord, it doesn’t seem right that anyone could despise or forsake you... hide their face from you. Yet, when we consider where to go with our deepest pain and suffering, we are comforted that your suffering gives us courage in our weakest moments. What you bore on our behalf is hard to take in. Thank you for your great empathy that reassures us we have an intercessor and advocate who understands, firsthand, what we are going through. Amen.