The dark silhouette in the doorframe of the hospital ward startled the patient. What was happening was not clear when the figure starting inching it’s way toward the hospital bed on its hands and knees. It wasn’t a hallucination at all. It was an old high school friend named Jackie who crawled up into bed with the patient, snuggled her head on the pillow, and then quietly started singing an old hymn.
Man of sorrows, what a name
For the Son of God, who came
Ruined sinners to reclaim:
Hallelujah, what a Savior!
Joni Eareckson, then 17 years old, was no longer in ICU, but in a hospital ward with six other patients who had also recently suffered a spinal cord injury–one that would leave her as a quadriplegic for life.
From the recanting of her own life story, the woman we have come to famously know as Joni Eareckson Tada, remembers the depths of hopelessness when, behold, a true friend in the silences of the night sang over her on behalf of the Man of sorrows.
This Man of sorrows, the ancient words say, is acquainted with grief. As it were, those who despised and rejected Him hid their faces from His view. There was no beauty that anyone should desire Him. This Man of sorrows is Jesus the crucified, laid in a tomb at the cruel hands of Roman soldiers.
In modern times, we still seek this One we call God and ask Him how to apply truth in a way that makes sense of life. Suffering has not ceased. Pain is all around us. Bad things happen to good people.
In the midst of all of this, how do we find the ways to make relevant something that happened in a tomb over 2,000 years ago?
The answer, I have come to believe, is found in the words left behind as a treasure map to help ordinary people on our quest for the truth.
How do we know for certain we can trust these words to be true?
The answer can be found proven time and again in Biblical prophecies fulfilled. If you want to find some real treasure, just do a little research on what is happening on the Biblical timeline as it pertains to world history.
It is written that the Word of God is powerful and true and sharper than any double-edged sword. Beyond prophecy fulfilled, it penetrates even to dividing the soul and the spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.
So if the Man of sorrows is real, and the Word of God true, then the gift of the Resurrection, Dear Reader, is nothing to toy around with in these perilous times.
This same Man of sorrows that a young Joni Eareckson encountered in the hospital ward is the same yesterday, today, and forever. He is calling us into an eternal friendship with Himself as the world’s timeline ticks away.
When I say time is running short, it is not to shame or condemn. There is little time to make your homes ready. There is little time to make your hearts ready.
Instead of searching for Easter dresses and new shoes, let this Easter be a renewed commitment not only to know the Man of sorrows in His resurrection, but a time to open our eyes to his plan. The world’s timeline is screaming a message of His imminent return.
There in these ancient words we find a story Jesus once told at a Pharisee’s table about a great banquet. A certain man was preparing a great banquet and invited many guests, but to no avail. All of the esteemed guests began to make excuses for missing the party.
This greatly insulted the man, so he ordered his servant to go into the streets and alleys of the town and bring in the poor, the crippled, the blind and the lame. In spite of their many afflictions, and lack of affluence, the man filled his banqueting table with those others who accepted the invitation.
In these last days, soon there will be no more time to choose. The king is at His banqueting table and wants to dine with you. He sees neither your afflictions nor failures.
This king, he is the Man of sorrows, now in the glory of the resurrection. The ancient words say he has borne our griefs, carried our sorrows, was wounded for our transgressions, and bruised for our iniquities. By His stripes we are healed. He has laid on Him the iniquity of us all. The curse of sin is broken and we are free!
There are but two responses to the invitation. Yes or no. Yes, I choose to dine with the king in spite of my afflictions or no I reject the king. Which one do you choose?
If yes, please post your reply of “I accept the invitation” to your social media profile. #IChooseChrist
Read Brandi’s column each month in The Cross Timbers Gazette.