Yesterday I started reading a book about human relationships. The first chapter annoyed me because the authors figured that the only cure for those who were not properly affirmed by their parents was to fix it. They said that we have an obligation to bless others in such a way that they never suffer a sense of worthlessness.
While loving others does mean being a blessing to them, it is impossible to eradicate those feelings of not being good enough. Whether my parents affirmed me or not, the Bible is clear that I have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. Before Him, I have no merit of my own, no matter what others might say. Besides, feeling worthless is an important part of repentance and faith. Without having that terrible sense of not being good enough, affirmation might backfire and be my excuse for not needing God.
These thoughts come out of today’s devotional reading that winds up a few days’ discussion on the unbearable nature of a crushed spirit. The author rightly says that there is only one cure for our deepest sorrows and needs — Jesus Christ.
But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed. (Isaiah 53:5)
I can say amen to that. Before Christ came into my life, I was thoroughly crushed. Everything was falling apart and my heart was broken and deeply discouraged. When Jesus walked in, none of my circumstances changed, but He changed my heart and filled it with joy. He proved to me that in Him, my efforts to be happy and do well were not only useless, but a waste of energy. Without Him, I was lost and troubled, but He saved me, brought me peace, and healed my wounds.
Yet as the devotional writer says, Jesus heals wounds more than once. Many times life has crushed my heart and Jesus has never failed to be with me and comfort me. He knows my sorrows, for He experienced them also.
I’m comforted to know that God is like any loving father who does not happily bring needless pain and affliction or grief to his children. He desires that I am joyful and works all things for my good so I will be transformed into the image of His Son. That means that even the worst crushing has purpose in the hand of God. In Christ, I can take it and even think well of God in it.
Besides, affliction is brief. Even if sorrows last a lifetime, that is but a blip on the ribbon of time. The evils in my life could stay for its extent, but I will eventually wake up in eternal bliss. Jesus will take me there.
I am not the first child of God to know sorrow and will not be the last. I am not alone in it. If God does not remove it, I can bear it. His strength is sufficient and if He does not heal the crushing, He will grant courage and strength. Either way, He is my Savior and Lord.