Yet it was the LORD’s will to crush him and cause him to suffer, and though the LORD makes his life a guilt offering, he will see his offspring and prolong his days, and the will of the LORD will prosper in his hand. After the suffering of his soul, he will see the light of life and be satisfied; by his knowledge my righteous servant will justify many, and he will bear their iniquities. Isaiah 53:10-11 (NIV)
It is the will of the Father to crush His children at different times. Always in love. Always for His glory and, ultimately, their good.
I felt crushed by the Lord at this time last year. Broken, bruised and ripped raw as a result of disappointment, doubt and disobedience, my heart felt like a long, open-ended ache, and I found myself pleading for restoration like David in Psalm 51:8 (NIV): “Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones you have crushed rejoice.” Needless to say, I was having a hard time.
So when I heard the words of Isaiah 53 at a Good Friday service, they resonated with me, comforted me. They began playing over and over in my mind, serenading my soul. “Yet it was the LORD’s will to crush Him and cause Him to suffer. It was the LORD’s will…to crush Him.”
I felt sure that if it was God’s will to crush the Son, then His intentions in crushing me must be kind as well. But how? I needed to understand.
Jesus Christ, the Son of God, was crushed for my sin. He was pierced for my transgressions. He bore every failing and offense, all the moments of mistrust, doubt and disobedience. He was punished for every wicked inclination of my heart, for my bent to self-reliance and fear. He carried every one of my sorrows, every ounce of my spiritual sickness. My sin required the suffering of His soul.
Jesus took what I deserved and died in my place. He did it in love – in love for the Father and in love for me. And in being crushed, He crushed fully and forever the sin that kept me bound and far from Him.
I was in awe. And I started to see that my crushing was very different from that of Jesus.
The crushing I felt was not at all about punishment and, ironically, came because I had been forgiven for sin and adopted as a beloved child of God. Jesus’ crushing purchased for me the crushing of fatherly discipline. It had been laid upon me with a heavy and loving hand and was done for my good.
The Father had crushed me to keep me close, to remind me that moving apart from Him would always end badly. He was not punishing me and He was not mad at me. He was teaching me to trust Him even when I couldn’t see and did not agree or understand. It was an extravagant and excruciating mercy.
My crushing was about correction and conformity. But I needed help to see it rightly. I had to see my crushing through the lens of His in order to understand that it was love – not wrath.
As we remember the death of Christ this Good Friday, let us receive the consolation of the gospel. He crushed Jesus on our behalf. And at times He will crush us too, in love, that we might be conformed to the likeness of the Son, to the image of the One crushed.