SORROWIs.53: 3 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.
4 Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.
5 But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.
6 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.
7 He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth.
If you can live your own life without sensing and understanding and being impacted by the immense sorrow all around you then you are not walking with Jesus. The word sorrow is not just some fleeting feeling of sadness. It goes much deeper than that and it is an intense emotion that impacts a person’s entire life. Depression is sorrow’s best friend. I have felt true sorrow a few times in my life. As I watched my mother slowly die before my eyes at age 44 I was overcome with great sorrow.
Sorrow disables. Sorrow immobilizes. Sorrow can affect the human body. And yet somehow people live with sorrow for many, many years. All over the world people exist with daily sorrow and have adjusted to its pain and still go on. Some can never adjust and remove themselves from society. Some remove themselves from this world. The sorrow I have felt did not last long. But millions of people live in the depths of sorrow almost their entire lives. It is almost inconceivable.
The 31 year old Sudanese mother can live without much food herself, but as her breasts dry up she knows her infant will die. We cannot help but think in terms of our western experience. We have been so programmed that we have honed the skills that help us remain detached at seeing a black Sudanese infant starve to death. Or when a tsunami takes the lives of 250,000 people in the far east it is a tragedy but not personal. We do not hear the wails of those left behind who now must live without spouses or parents or without their children. And as the waves swept over individuals we do not incline our ears to hear the muffled screams of terror as they drown that turn into the screams of souls as they first realize their eternal fate. In the movie Star Wars an entire planet is incinerated and yet Obi-Wan Kenobi is seriously impacted by the loss of life even though he did not witness the event.
How often are we impacted by the loss of human life in parts of the world and by people we do not know? I am sure seeing murder and death thousands of times on television and in the movies has hardened our hearts toward such things. But that cannot be the way of Jesus. And because the America culture has taught us the superiority of Americans through open and subtle ways we have an inherent perspective which automatically adjusts to the nationality and sometimes even the race connected with a tragedy. 1200 people are drowned when an Indian ferry capsizes and it makes some part of the news. We read or hear about it and it makes no impact on us at all. But when 3000 people die in America we will mark its anniversary forever. 5000 Africans will die of AIDS every day but if 10 people in one city died from some virus within one week the government will spare no expense it seeking the cause and finding a cure.
Initially this is not our fault since we are a product of the system. But once we are brought from death to life and given the Spirit of God we now are responsible to allow our hearts to be opened. I do not suggest we walk in depression and with a morose sentiment, however there should be times when we set aside our own lives and allow the Spirit to expose us to the sorrow of others. I believe the word is compassion.
Jude: 21 Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.22 And of some have compassion, making a difference:
It is common for us to think about the love of God toward us and feel grateful. We never deserved it. But if we are to have it be more than a doctrine then we must walk inside that love which moves way beyond ourselves. If we are not only the recipients of God’s love but also the conduits of that love then we must see the sorrow in the lives of so many. And the answer to that sorrow is Jesus. And that Jesus travels in earthen vessels.
The western church is sorely lacking in many things and high on the list is compassion. It feels no compassion for the poor, for Muslims around the world, for gays, for women pregnant out of wedlock, for the Palestinians, for the homeless, or really for that matter almost anyone. Even the paltry food pantrys or benevolence programs are a sham meant to appease the conscience. In truth, we cannot feel true compassion for the sorrowful and the hurting without being filled with the love of God. The best we can do if feel bad for a short moment and then move on. But to feel God’s compassion it takes cross-filled eyes which always results in some kind of action.
The world is filled with sorrow.
Jesus is the only true answer for them.
We must share Jesus by word and by deed.