Gazing out my window the gray clouds hang low as if shielding my view from what is happening in the heavenly realm. It is almost as if earth is cloaked in a garment of sorrow. No bright sun shines across the horizon and the air is still with an almost palpable expectation. Gray. That’s the color and the mood. A gray, weary, sad day. So where is the Good in Good Friday – a question asked by many, believer and non-believer alike.
As I reflected on my Lenten passage this morning, the ‘good’ spoke loudly to me.
4 Yet it was our weaknesses he carried;
it was our sorrows that weighed him down.
And we thought his troubles were a punishment from God,
a punishment for his own sins!
5 But he was pierced for our rebellion,
crushed for our sins.
He was beaten so we could be whole.
He was whipped so we could be healed.
6 All of us, like sheep, have strayed away.
We have left God’s path to follow our own,
Yet the LORD laid on him
the sins of us all. Isaiah 53: 4 – 6 NLT
Allow me to share my thoughts on the truly good of this Friday.
When my strength is insufficient to have the faith of a mustard seed, to take another step or breathe another breath; His strength carries me.
When my sorrow, grief and anguish overwhelm me to the point of despair and hopelessness; He takes the weight of those sorrows upon himself. Every tear, every wail, every failure and distraction from my faith falls upon him with crushing oppression.
Even in the midst of my deliverance, I still question ‘why.’ Why is there such evil among us, why such suffering? Where is God in the ugliness, inhumanity, injustice and tragedy?
HE is there. HE is right smack in the middle of it – suffering, carrying, bearing, grieving, loving and offering hope, light and redemption in each circumstance.
And when my ‘independent’ spirit becomes rebellious and my thoughts are of me alone; He took the crushing blows of scourging in order to spare me from receiving them.
His body was abused and tortured because of MY sin – not his. He willingly submitted to MY due punishment. His body beaten so that I could become WHOLE. His body broken that I could receive spiritual HEALING that I might be RESTORED to fellowship with God.
I am the sheep that follows blindlessly, overlooking the spiritual dangers surrounding me, ignoring the traps and snares placed to lure me away. I stray from the security of His path and wander away from the guidance and protection of my shepherd because of my desire for greener pastures. I place myself in harm’s way, alone and vulnerable to attack.
And because of MY weakness, MY rebellion, MY sin, brokenness, infirmity and disobedience – Jesus took MY place and paid the penalty for each and every one of MY failures. My debt was paid on that Friday. I am FREE because He made restitution upon a crude wooden cross. That Friday became ‘good’ because it allowed my life to become something beautiful. Something I could never do on my own.
Today is a day for reflection. Where am I in my faith walk? Am I closer to Christ today because of his miraculous act of mercy? How can I grow closer to Him? Today is a very GOOD day to begin anew.
In His gracious and loving mercy,
“I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” John 10:10