In the first reading from Isaiah he talks about the Lord being pleased to crush him in his infirmities. Yikes! Who in the world is he talking about and why would God be pleased to crush him in his infirmities?
This reading from Isaiah is taken from his description of the Suffering Servant that is to come, Jesus whom Isaiah is prophesizing about. Still the question remains, WHY would God want to crush his only son in his infirmities?
Of course, this speaks to the ironies of our faith. Why did Jesus have to die in such a brutal and obscene way? Couldn’t he have died quietly in a retirement home? Why suffer and why would God be pleased with such suffering.
At first look, it appears that perhaps we have a cruel sadistic God, who seems to enjoy punishing and crushing his own. Of course, this is not true. Like anything in Christianity and the bible, everything must be taken as a whole and in context.
We know that our God is a loving compassionate God who desires to lead us, support us, comfort us, heal us and be with us. Any parent knows that sometimes what is best for their child, might seem to be harsh, cruel and cause pain. The child may not understand it and even have trouble trusting the parent, even so, it is necessary to cause distress for the short term for the child’s overall good. It is because the parent loves the child that they cause the temporary pain.
Of course, the same is true for our God. In order to accomplish the overall good, God allows pain and suffering, even for his only son. It is the paradigm that we are all familiar with, Good Friday leads to Easter Sunday. Like a child who must endure the pain of a vaccination, may not understand why her parents are causing pain, we don’t always understand why our God allows our pain and suffering. We learn that our pain and suffering is only temporary and even necessary so we can enjoy the reward of heaven.
Still, we don’t always like or understand God, we have faith and trust in him. I would just say, I will have a lot of questions for God if and when we finally meet.
Reverend James Kirby