Ever wanted to bypass suffering? To slip away before it hits too hard? Sometimes suffering is inevitable. We can try to dodge it, but God sees fit to not let the cup pass. How our hearts ache in that moment. We feel ripped apart. We may even fear the future and what it will hold as we try to heal. This past week I was reading The Pastor's Wife in which Sabina Wurmbrand gives an interesting perspective on pain.
I have read Isaiah 53 a multitude of times. It is the famous chapter that portrays the suffering of Christ. Take a moment to look at it.
1 Who has believed our message? And to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed?
2 For He grew up before Him like a tender shoot, And like a root out of parched ground; He has no stately form or majesty That we should look upon Him, Nor appearance that we should be attracted to Him.
3 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.
4 Surely our griefs He Himself bore, And our sorrows He carried; Yet we ourselves esteemed Him stricken, Smitten of God, and afflicted.
5 But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, And by His scourging we are healed.
6 All of us like sheep have gone astray, Each of us has turned to his own way; But the LORD has caused the iniquity of us all To fall on Him.
7 He was oppressed and He was afflicted, Yet He did not open His mouth; Like a lamb that is led to slaughter, And like a sheep that is silent before its shearers, So He did not open His mouth.
8 By oppression and judgment He was taken away; And as for His generation, who considered That He was cut off out of the land of the living For the transgression of my people, to whom the stroke was due?
9 His grave was assigned with wicked men, Yet He was with a rich man in His death, Because He had done no violence, Nor was there any deceit in His mouth.
10 But the LORD was pleased To crush Him, putting Him to grief; If He would render Himself as a guilt offering, He will see His offspring, He will prolong His days, And the good pleasure of the LORD will prosper in His hand.
11 As a result of the anguish of His soul, He will see it and be satisfied; By His knowledge the Righteous One, My Servant, will justify the many, As He will bear their iniquities.
12 Therefore, I will allot Him a portion with the great, And He will divide the booty with the strong; Because He poured out Himself to death, And was numbered with the transgressors; Yet He Himself bore the sin of many, And interceded for the transgressors.
Now here is the part I NEVER would have caught. The 53rd chapter of Isaiah was written in the perfect tense. What in the world is the perfect tense? Being a language teacher, I have taught about the perfect tense for years. It is a tense that expresses that something has already happened. It is done. Finished. And yet, Isaiah 53 was written hundreds of years before Christ was ever crucified! It should have been written in the future tense!
So what does that tell us about God and His perspective on suffering? The trials that we go through...how does He see them? He sees all that will happen to us as if it has already occurred. It is over with. We can walk through trials, pain, and suffering knowing that it has already been taken care of. He has already provided His comfort and care for us. He has redeemed and perfected our pain before it ever started.
Here is a song by Casting Crowns that expresses the same idea...He goes before us. Our pain has already past, therefore, we can rest in Him when life gets hard.
What an awesome God we serve that He covers it all...our past, present and future with grace and comfort.
Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty, who was, and is, and is to come. Revelation 4:8