“A man of sorrows and acquainted with grief.”
Heartache and trouble have a myopic effect on us. On our own, we quickly develop tunnel vision for our own pain. We stew over injustice that’s been dealt us, continually scrape at bitter wounds, or silently pine for bygone and better days. We are not at all fond of sorrow yet we cling to it as if it will keep us afloat. We resent our private darkness, but we lack the insight (and sometimes the inclination) to escape it.
If not for Christ, we would still be in the dark.
“Was there ever grief like his?” the old hymn asks. I cannot look at the cross for long without concluding, “No, there never was a grief like his.” I once bore the burden of my sin, but he took upon himself that burden; I will never fully face the consequences of my sin because he took my punishment. He was familiar with grief—more so than I can know.
He came to carry for us the greatest sorrow: estrangement from God. He came to remove completely and eternally “the bar across our shoulders” (Is. 9:4). He came to set us free from sin (Rom. 2:23-24), and he stayed with us so that we might understand that we are also free from guilt (Rom. 8:1). Surely the little deaths we suffer all our lives have been dissolved in his light.
We have reason to rejoice, don’t we?
“We cannot wait until the world is sand
To raise our songs with cheerful voice
For, to share our grief, to touch our pain
He came with Love: Rejoice! Rejoice!”
– Madeleine L’Engle