Tag Archive: Isaiah 53


Brokenness and Fear

In my last post, I talked about Isaiah 53’s Suffering Servant and ended the post by asking why I would be inclined to feel offended over his situation. One explanation could be found in the phrase I quoted near the end, that “it pleased the Lord to bruise him.” There’s an element of sacrifice in this passage, where the innocent was taken by God and offered as a sacrifice for the sins of the guilty. That can be an uncomfortable concept, because 1) I am one of the guilty folk (definitely not perfect, you know), and 2) it can lead one to question the goodness and character of the Almighty.

However, I don’t think my reaction fit into either of those little boxes. It has, at points, but not regarding brokenness. Instead, I found myself identifying with the Suffering Servant and his story. My life had been hard, and I was relatively innocent. After all, children do not deserve abuse. With the way my dad wove religious themes into our situation, from there it was no great leap to feel that my innocence was the sacrifice offered by my father to expiate or relieve some of his own guilt. My indignation toward the way God (mis)treated the Servant was, I think, springing from fear that God would have condemned me to a similar role. If God would be “pleased. . .to bruise” His faithful servant, why not me as well? Would I be stuck broken and limping for the rest of my life to help atone for the sins of others? I didn’t want to contemplate that possibility. I was too afraid that it might be true.

Maybe God was that mean. Maybe I was that worthless. Maybe my dad was more important. Maybe… maybe…. maybe… maybe. What if He was? What if I was? What if he was? What if… what if… what if? What if all the most horrible and scariest things were true?

What if they were? It was the question I couldn’t face, and because I was wondering and fearing without facing, I had some nasty ideas about God and Who He is and what He does hiding. Part of me believed that God was mean, that He was untrustworthy, that He didn’t like me, that He was going to make all my life hard, that His “favor” was anything but, and other things. I had all this floating around inside of me, a spot of darkness where I hated and feared God, and I couldn’t touch it because I couldn’t handle my pain. I couldn’t – or perhaps wouldn’t – see past my pain and the injustices under which I was living, and all I wanted was out. I didn’t want the pain. I didn’t want the questions. I was afraid of the dark, and I prayed for healing and deliverance.

Whether I wanted the questions or not, I did have them. I cannot help but think they emanated from me to poison the air and beat on God with their anxious uncertainties. Anxiety is like that. It hides, but not well. And, I believe, God responded to my prayers, but not how I expected or wanted. He asked me those questions. “What if you don’t get better? What if healing for you doesn’t look like the removal of your brokenness? What if it’s not just gone, and you spend the rest of your life limping?” He answered my questions with some of His own. What that did for me was start drawing my invisible questions out to be seen. God’s questions, rather than being a condemnation of my misdeeds, started shining a little light into my darkness, and that proved to be a very good thing for me. After all, fear doesn’t do well with light.

Until next time!

No Escape from Brokenness??

Previously I’d talked about my dissatisfaction with my own brokenness, and I left off at a point where God asked me to consider the “what if” of limping for the rest of my life. It was a profound question. What I wanted was out.  I wanted to escape the pain and struggle in my life. I wanted away from my problems, the things that I believed were to blame for my pain and anguish. I just didn’t want to hurt any more. I believed God could do all that for me. He healed that lady who bled for 12 years, right? Blind folks were seeing, dead people were living, and all kinds of crazy stuff happened. Why not me? Why couldn’t I have a similar miracle, a new life? What the heck was God doing, asking me an awful question like that?

By that time, I knew Him better than when I was a suspiciously minded teenager. I actually knew that love was worthwhile and believed Him to be good and to have my best interests in mind, so I didn’t throw a drink in His face and tell Him where to go. Instead, I thought about what He was saying. While I still upset about the question, at this point, I was also curious. It’s a good thing that I’m not a cat, and that God loves me. I’ve noticed that He frequently catches me by pricking my curiosity.

First off, He wasn’t telling me, “No way, Jose.” It was not a denial of my request. It was important for me to realize that. I’m sure I’d have thrown a more impressive temper tantrum, otherwise.

So He’s good, and He’s looking out for me, and He works things out for those who love Him, which ruled out crazy whim or caprice, too. He was not flexing or bullying or doing anything like that.

He’s also omniscient, right? God knows everything. If He did, that meant the questions He was asking weren’t particularly important for Him. If that was true, then they were probably more for my benefit. There was something meant for good in this situation for me. What could it be?

I thought about it. I still think about what good there could be in brokenness, and when I do, a passage that consistently springs to mind is Isaiah 53. It is well worth a thoughtful read, so I’m going to paste it in and leave you there until the next post. If you’d prefer NIV over the KJV, click on the Isaiah 53 link. Bible Gateway has many other versions, too.

Isaiah 53

King James Version (KJV)
53 Who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the Lord revealed?
2 For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him.
3 He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
4 Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.
5 But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.
6 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.
7 He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth.
8 He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? for he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken.
9 And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth.
10 Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in his hand.
11 He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities.
12 Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.