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 everyone to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all. ~ Isaiah 53: 4-6
I could post this passage and it would be enough. These words are just powerful; I’ve read them before and each time they stop my breath and I ponder their depth and flounder to fully grasp what He gave for me. I am amazed that I ever forget and I am grieved that I allow daily life to distract me and that I need to be reminded again of the price He paid for my transgressions. I forget how great a debt I owe and when I forget, my heart slips. My struggle and attempt to do good works, born out of a heart of deep gratitude, begins to be puffed up with pride, and I begin to think that somehow I have contributed to my salvation.
Then I read these words…
“Surely he hath borne our griefs and carried our sorrows:”
I have known grief that has physically made my chest hurt and stolen my breath, but I survived that grief because in the midst of that pain there was an indescribable peace – a quiet comfort – that was mine because He has borne our grief and carried our sorrows and the chastisement of our peace was put upon Him. My heart grapples with the depth of what this means – I have peace in the midst of pain because He had none.
“…he was bruised for our iniquities;”
I have been bruised and bruises are ugly black and blue wounds that remind us of our stumbles, falls, our careless mistakes and weaknesses, but I have not been bruised or beaten beyond recognition for the sins of others nor can I comprehend such pain.
“…he was wounded for our transgressions..”
I have been wounded and ripped raw by the stinging words and deeds of others – those transgressions and wounds of rejection, selfish manipulation, and prideful self-exaltation, but my skin has not been ripped open for them while my heart carried the pain. And although I have felt the transgressions of others, I have also transgressed against others –even the very ones I love the most.
There is nothing I have received that I did not deserve – I was born into sin deserving nothing good and owing more than I could ever pay. And while my mind tries to understand what was given for me from the limitations of my own experiences, my heart knows there is no comparison; I cannot even begin to comprehend the price that was paid for me.
And with all the pain He suffered, still…
“the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.”
I have felt the weight of my own sin – those awful, ugly, hidden sins that fill us with shame and guilt – sin that separates us from God and leaves us numb with the pain of that separation. Those who bare evidence of His grace know that once our hearts are opened to the irresistible love offered in relationship, we cannot tolerate the pain of separation. But even when sin and shame numb our hearts to grace, we are not abandoned because He carried the iniquity of us all and felt the pain of separation and abandonment that was our due penitence.
And so my prayer of repentance becomes a prayer of praise….
Oh the grief that takes my breath when trouble and sadness I know
But anguish will never wholly consume while tears of sorrow flow
For He has born my griefs and pain; wounded for all of my sin
My punishment for peace He paid and washed me clean within
And when to hide my dirty soul, guilt and shame build up a wall
I am reminded on Him was laid the iniquity of us all.
When I forget, wander astray, and turn to my own ways
He woos me back, one saved by grace, so my heart can sing His praise.