Monday, 12 June 2017

Day 12: He Took Up Our Pain

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He took up our pain.
Isaiah 53: 4

On days of sadness and affliction, it's often been a great comfort to me to remember Romans 4:6:

" And David speaks of the blessedness of the one to whom God counts righteousness apart from works: 
'Blessed are those whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered; blessed is the man whose sins the LORD will never count against him.'" 

My greatest ever burden is my sin. It's my heaviest load, my greatest cause for despair, a weight around my neck that would pull me straight to the bottom of the ocean (and beyond).

But, Christ...!

Christ carried my burden to Calvary. He made my sin his business, and his burden. He took up my sin- and bore the full weight of its penalty in my place: once and for all, He took up my pain.

There are two ways this brings comfort. 

Firstly, whatever else is happening, whatever darknessess the past or the present or the future may hold, I've still got at least one Rock-solid reason for joy: my sins are forgiven.

When I first became a Christian, aged 15, I remember feeling flooded with delight in a science lesson. Not because I was learning physics (au contraire!), but because I had remembered that everything that meant God should be my enemy had been dealt with; my sins were forgiven; the way to Him as my Father had been opened; He was on my side. I remember thinking: knowing Jesus really makes a difference: deep joy, even in period 5 physics!

But the comfort has applied in all sorts of hardships since. 

Today, I may have to face many trials, but I do not have to face them carrying the burden of my sin. He took up my pain; he bore my sorrows, and so the burden of my sin is as far away from me as the east is from the west-  and that's not even hyperbole, because they're further away than that! On days of pain- my sins are no longer mine to carry! They are dealt with! Gone! Forgiven! Blessed, much!?

Secondly, this is a reminder that Jesus knows how to take up pain. 

1 Peter 5 says, "Cast all your cares upon Him, for he cares for you." 

In uncertainty and filled with fearfulness, when my burdens seem too large, I can cast them unto Jesus and trust that He will take them up. He has made my burdens his business;  with his almighty arm he has hurled my iniquities into the depths of the sea (Micah 7:19); he has made carrying my burdens his joy. In His strength and grace and kindness and service, Jesus took up my pain, my sins, my griefs: and He carried them to the cross; of course he can also carry the other, comparatively smaller burdens I that may be mine today.

He took up my pain, and he takes it up still.

Precious Saviour!

As Joseph Scrivens so concisely expressed it:

What a friend we have in Jesus,
All our sins and griefs to bear!
What a privilege to carry
Everything to God in prayer!
Oh, what peace we often forfeit;
Oh, what needless pain we bear
All because we do not carry
Everything to God in prayer!

Have we trials and temptations?
Is there trouble any where?
We should never be discouraged
Take it to the Lord in prayer.
Can we find a friend so faithful
Who will all our sorrows share?
Jesus knows our every weakness
Take it to the Lord in prayer.

Are we weak and heavy laden,
Cumbered with a load of care?
Precious Savior, still our refuge
Take it to the Lord in prayer.
Do your friends despise, forsake you?
Take it to the Lord in prayer.
In his arms he’ll take and shield you;
You will find a solace there.

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