But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed. Isaiah 53:5
While standing on top of a kitchen chair placed precariously at the edge of the grape vine arbor deck, I greedily stretched to reach the very last bunch of grapes in the corner, and the chair leg slipped off the edge of the deck and down I fell! Talk about crushed grapes; here I was lying in a pile of them! My daughter Mary who had been keeping me company while I worked by sharing her ideas about the differences between boys and girls in the 3rd grade, rushed to my assistance. "Oh Mama, Mama!" she cried, and then to Jack who was inside the house, "Jack, get out here right now! Mom needs you!" Mary is clearly in charge around our house, and Jack came running outside at the sound of her voice. I assured them that I was okay, and picked myself up as best I could to go change out of my grape stained clothes. As I walked in the door, the phone was ringing. It was Rose, my next-door neighbor. Her husband George had seen me fall and she was checking to see if I was all right and did I need anything. The Lord certainly does take good care of me by surrounding me with loving family and friends!
While I'm pretty sure that nothing was broken, and I am still able to use all of my limbs, it will be a while before the aches and pains of the multiple bruises and scrapes that I suffered in that fall, both to my body and to my ego, will heal. But they will heal, of that I am quite certain. Time does have a way of healing all of our physical wounds, but there are some wounds that require more than time alone to heal them, they require love as the ointment to bring healing about.
While contemplating the various places in which my body feels the pain most deeply, I can't help but compare them to the aches that Jesus suffered in His body while walking that horrific road to Calvary.
The pain in my upper back and shoulder that can be soothed with a little bit of heat and maybe a gentle massage, makes me realize that the pain of our sins that Jesus felt in his upper back and shoulder from the weight of the cross need our deep and constant love both for Him and for others, to bring about some relief.
With each movement of my swollen and bruised arms, I think of Jesus' beautiful arms, aching to hold me and comfort me. But, because they are attached to the cross by the nails of my sins, only my repentance can release them and fulfill His desire to hold me. I can work at releasing them and bringing his arms to embrace me by confessing my sins and resolving to resist future temptations.
When I look at the deep, purple bruise on my leg, and feel it's throbbing with each step I take, I can't help but think of the unbearable pain Jesus felt each time the weight of the cross caused his legs to buckle beneath Him, bringing Him to the ground. It's going to take my love for others, lifting them up when they fall down, to ease that pain in Jesus' legs.
The loss of dignity I suffered in my fall, lying in a pile of grapes, causing worry to my children and neighbors, will soon be forgotten. But how is it that Jesus will ever forget His loss of dignity at having been stripped of His clothes and laughed and jeered at by so many people? It's going to take a lot of love to heal that pain. I can begin by speaking kindly to and about others, by helping to restore the dignity that all people deserve by respecting the differences of others within the human race. I can stand up for the things I believe in firmly, yet lovingly, by remembering that God lives within everyone.
Feeling utterly exhausted after the fall, I longed to lie down and rest. How tired Jesus must be as well, after suffering all that torment and pain. I can make a quiet place for Him to rest while He heals, by quieting my heart in silent prayer, by reminding Him of my love for Him and by spending time alone with Him in my heart.
I feel better already, knowing that when I love others and spend time in prayer, I am loving Jesus and helping to relieve the pain of the indignities and physical anguish that He felt. Thank you Jesus, for this opportunity to feel a little bit of your pain and to work to relieve it for you.