While channel surfing the other night, hoping to find something interesting to watch as I was waiting for a show to come on a thought occurred to me. Our American culture has become inundated with all manners of advertisements; selling items and products from workout programs, to health and vitality products. They address such topics as health and fitness, finances, parenting, and relationships. All the while they bait you, with promises which guarantee success, and wealth.
Health. Happiness. Prosperity. These are the by-words of our time. The claims and promises marketers cover make vast and excited claims; as if by following certain steps our lives will become secure, family problems will disappear, our bodies will do what we want, and we will live happily ever after. Life will become a fairy tale ending. Or so they say.
Life is not always lived as advertised. Our loved ones die. Our bodies wear out. Time rolls on. Indeed, our own station in life changes and in one sense, everything is in flux.
How then do we make sense of such things, and where do we find God in the midst of this life? We find Him in brokenness, sorrow and vulnerability. Yes, God is present. Even in our suffering.
God reveals Himself in weakness and has promised to help us in the same helplessness. Isaiah reminds us there is no appearance of greatness in the One who comes to save the world. “He had no form or majesty that we should look at him, and no beauty that we should desire him.” (Isaiah 53:2)
Isaiah describes not only how Christ had nothing which appeared to be great but also how He will be rejected and be acquainted not with power and might but with grief. “He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not.” (Isaiah 53:3).
Christ, who is true God, sets aside His power and might to become man in order to win salvation for you. Isaiah speaks of this Savior: “Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his stripes we are healed” (Isaiah 53:4–5).
In the stripes of Christ we are healed. Christ brings us peace in times of suffering. Here is how we see God. The Father made Himself clear to us in His son Jesus. It was not in power, but in this lowliness described by Isaiah that Christ came. Man would not have chosen for God to work this way. However, God chose to work this way for man.
Now we are in Lent where we reflect upon the suffering and passion of Jesus. By these events, God arranges and directs our lives so that we recognize our true home. The Lord wants us to know that our true home is not here on earth with its false promises of a better life now.