Places we would rather not go

But Christ is the treasure in the darkness

Isaiah 61:1-2 The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is upon me, for the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to comfort the brokenhearted and to proclaim that captives will be released and prisoners will be freed. He has sent me to tell those who mourn that the time of the Lord’s favor has come.

Why must we walk with Jesus his path to the cross? Why can’t we skip directly to Easter?

Dr. Diane Langberg thinks deeply about what it means to share the anointing Jesus claimed as his own (Luke 4:20). Here is a selection from “The Fellowship of His Sufferings,” Chapter 5 of her book Suffering and the Heart of God (emphasis mine):

These verses [Isaiah 61:1-3] bring us comfort, but if we are to follow Jesus we must walk into poverty, brokenness, prisons, darkness, mourning, and despair. These are not places we desire to go. … He has called us to live and serve him in this dark place of death, this world, moving among those who are dead in their trespasses and sins, calling them to light and life.

It is not the kind of invitation most of us like to receive. He is the Man of Sorrows and familiar with suffering. He was despised and rejected. He took up our griefs and carried our sorrows. He was crushed for our sins, oppressed, judged, and cut off from the land of the living. And you and I, as the servants of God, are called to complete in our lives what is lacking in regard to Christ’s suffering, for the sake of his body.

The call to share in the fellowship of his sufferings is preceded by the call to worship, the call to truly know him as he is. … Unless we begin from the pace of worship, we will not have power to descend to the places of suffering. … God is on his throne and is our eternal refuge. Worship must come first or we will exalt ourselves and think that the drab drudgery of the rubble is not meant for us. …

God must permeate your being if you are to bring life to dead places. … We must first allow the Spirit of God to bring his power to bear in the dark and dead places of our own lives. We must begin on our knees. He has borne our selfishness, our complacency, our love of success, and our pride. There is no part of any tragedy that he has now known and carried.

God will use the suffering of others to drive you to himself for more of him. Such darkness would overwhelm and lead to despair were there not a treasure there. The treasure in the darkness is the Crucified Christ. To enter into the fellowship of his sufferings is to find him.

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