Sorrow and Renewal

But he was wounded for our transgressions,
   crushed for our iniquities;
upon him was the punishment that made us whole,
   and by his bruises we are healed. 

Isaiah 53: 5

I find faith to be more challenging in some seasons of my life than it is in others. Sometimes, I just can’t wrestle down my cynicism enough to fully embrace the miraculous power of God. The ideals and doctrines I’ve believed for most of my life don’t always feel real to me. There are times when I’m filled with doubt and questions.  These seasons seem to happen when I’m filled with distractions—not just the distractions of everyday life and business—but also micro and macro-level sorrows. 

My personal, micro-sorrow usually revolves around the fact that, no matter how much I feel I’ve grown, I still fail to love, listen, and give as I should. In my macro-sorrow, I lament the fact that, no matter how much we progress as a world and society, painful realities such as hatred, inequality, and senseless violence still exist. 

During these faith crises, the image of a sovereign, omniscient, and omnipotent God doesn’t drive me to shake my fist at the heavens and ask, “Why?” But, I must admit, that image doesn’t always comfort me either. In times like these, the only image that brings me comfort is that of the crucified Christ.

In the tragedy of the crucifixion, we see how Christ identified with human sorrow. We see and understand that He chooses to be present in the darkest of our circumstances, ensuring that we are never truly alone. His presence exposes and overcomes that darkness.

The crucifixion also shows Christ’s power to overcome our miserable failures. His loving sacrifice played out in the face of being abandoned by those whose friendship with Him was not enough to withstand danger. It played out in the face of leaders who valued the status quo more than justice or mercy. With His death and resurrection, He claimed victory over these failures.

His death and resurrection brings victory over my failures too. That victory has meant something different to me in every season I consider it. Sometimes it has meant dying to the delusion that everything is up to me and that I face it alone. Most recently, it has meant dying to the notion that my faith is merely a private matter like a lifestyle choice, rather than dynamic obedience to the One whose prerogative it is to feed the hungry, visit the lonely, and be present with those who are in pain. His death and resurrection bring the invitation to make that prerogative my own.  

This Easter, I pray we experience the tragedy and power of the Cross anew, as Christ’s heartache is mingled with our own. And I pray that, in His resurrection, we see renewal of purpose.


Dear Christ, who suffered as we suffer, who lost as we lose, who died as we die, in remembering Your mortification, help us to see the death of our selfishness, our indifference to the needs of others, our callousness, cynicism, and fear, that in the abundant life made possible by Your resurrection, we might be empowered to go forth and love, blessed by the promise of your presence. Amen

Image Credit: Photograph by Simon Hurst