25 Oct 2015

A Man of Sorrows, and Acquainted with Grief

Letting Him acquaint himself with ours

Throughout my life I've found scriptures that I just attached to, and they stay my favorite until I find another that I enjoy more. Today I'd like to share with you one that has been my favorite for a long time. Like most of my favorites, it is a scripture about Christ.

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.

Isaiah 53:3

Christ's life was one filled with times to be sorrowful, and often the pain of it all weighed upon him. He knew from the beginning of his ministry exactly how it would come to a close, but he maintained a positive attitude despite all the inherent sorrow in what he had come to do.

Like most other people my life has had a fair amount of grief, and every now and again there is a twinge of true, deep, sorrow. I've had a good life, and I cannot claim to have seen even a small portion of the sorrow that Christ did, but I would be lying to claim that it hasn't had its share of sadness.

Some people seem to hate this sadness. They try in every way they can to avoid it, and at all times just seek to be happy. I don't know about everyone else, but this seems to be a deceptively unhealthy way to live. They never resolve their fears, and they never allow themselves to grieve. Grief and tears may not seem like things to be desired, but I know that they've been instrumental in my growth throughout life. I wouldn't say that I enjoy the grieving in my life, but I've come to see why it is a necessary part.

The first thing that helps me appreciate the tragedies of life is that they can be times to reflect upon ourselves, and refine our lives where necessary. From a very young age I appreciated moments when I could reflect, alone, on the things that were happening around me. I like to think, and I liked to build new perceptions. The tragedies of life are nothing if not refining, and often they become a turning point of sorts.

When tragedies strike they tear apart our perception of the world, and we are faced with a new perception. We realize why we are feeling this grief, and we are faced with the decision of how to react to it. As if this wasn't already an inherent moment of reflection, often our friends and close loved ones are there to help us - they recognize our emotions and always seem to know just when we need their help. Surrounded by these kinds of people, and armed with the clarity of thought that comes from having to build new perceptions, we are then ready to move forwards.

Another element I've always appreciated about sorrow is the contrast it gives to our lives. Life cannot be only one flavor, or else whatever flavor it was would be bland. A symphony cannot always be loud without losing the power it intended to express. Our lives were meant to be filled with highs and lows - bright times and dark times - in order for us to appreciate them both. Again, I'm not saying we will enjoy each tear of sorrow or every moment of tragedy, but Isaiah writes that Christ would be a man "acquainted with grief", and I often think that in order for our lives to be wholly what God intends for us we must also be similarly acquainted with grief.

The final, and perhaps most touching reason I appreciate the sorrows of life is because I know they bring me closer to my Savior. Christ was certainly a man who knew grief, but looking through the scriptures it is apparent to me that he very rarely grieved for himself.

In the book of Moses we hear Enoch asking the Lord, "How is it that the heavens weep, and shed forth their tears as the rain upon the mountains . . . seeing thou art holy, and from all eternity to all eternity?" We see this same thing throughout the scriptures - God weeping for us. Christ's sorrow and Christ's grief were never for himself; he was always remorseful for us.

Think for a moment what it means to you that Christ was not just a man well acquainted with grief, but someone acquainted with your grief. He was not merely a man of sorrows, but a man who knew your sorrows. Christ bore all of that for us, and every time we rely on him we come closer to him. I cherish these moments of sorrow, because when I remember this each moment becomes a memory of his love for me.

And so I hope that you choose to turn to him through your trials. Because we all have them, given to us as opportunities to learn humility and faith in God, but unless we allow him to be acquainted with our grief - acquainted with us - they will do us no good.

Christ is ready to be and always can be our greatest friend, our most trusted confidant, and our strongest support; and it is in these times of sorrow and sadness that we truly find that out.