Mornings at the Mission: Suffering in the Company of Christ

Each morning I offer a short devotion to the men under my care in the dorm. This is the spot where I share them with you, and keep a record of them for myself on the off chance I ever need them again.


I will mention the lovingkindnesses of the Lord,
and the praises of the Lord,
according to all that the Lord hath bestowed on us,
and the great goodness toward the house of Israel,
which he hath bestowed on them according to his mercies,
and according to the multitude of his lovingkindnesses.
For he said, Surely they are my people,
children that will not lie:
so he was their Saviour.
In all their affliction he was afflicted,
and the angel of his presence saved them:
in his love and in his pity he redeemed them;
and he bare them, and carried them all the days of old

(Isaiah 63:7-9).

 How easy it is to feel isolated when we are afflicted. When life goes wrong, it often seems as though the whole world is against us: our boss doesn’t want us to succeed, our family has hung us out to dry, or our friends were only our friends long enough to take advantage of us. “Where is God in all this?” we might wonder. Does He care? Does He even exist?

In the midst of our questions and doubts, in the midst of our woundedness and fear, Scripture meets us with words of comfort and consolation. It tells us of a God who does not abandon us to our suffering, but who instead joins us in it. Verse 9 in the passage I read a moment ago contains an amazing statement: “In all their affliction he was afflicted.” In other words, when God’s people face hardship, God suffers with them. We see the ultimate portrait of this reality painted for us in vivid red on the cross, where Jesus, God made flesh, suffers to an extent that baffles the imagination… rather than abandoning us to our fate, God joins us in it, bringing with Him healing and peace. As Hebrews 4:15 says: “we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin” (Hebrews 4:15).

Jesus is that High Priest, and the beautiful thing is that his compassion is not just empty sympathy: Repeatedly in the gospel accounts—Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John—we read of Jesus being moved with compassion for broken, hurting people. And every time we read of Him being so profoundly affected, we inevitably also read of Him intervening in that person’s life. Truly, He is willing and able to help us in our time of anxiety and need. He is the rock we can cling to when we’re drowning in the chaotic seas of life. He may not remove our afflictions, He may not even change our circumstances, but He will always be near to us in the midst of them, giving us the strength we need to endure. If you belong to Christ, draw comfort from the beautiful truth that you will never suffer alone.


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