Carrying Our Griefs

Carrying Our Griefs

Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. (ESV)

Isaiah 53:4

            This weekend I am going to Birmingham in order to speak at a funeral of a family member.  One of my cousins lost her only child- a son about to gradate college.  I’m very sad for her.  She’s actually the one who introduced me to C.S. Lewis many years ago.  She was reading a book called The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.  I remember asking her what the book was about, and her description was very intriguing to me.   Years later I read it myself for the first time and couldn’t put it down.  The rest is history.

            As I am preparing for this funeral and think on others who have lost someone or who are facing trials, the passage above from Isaiah came to mind.   Isaiah 53 is one of the clearest messianic prophecies in the Old Testament.  It paints a clear picture of Jesus and His ministry.

            “Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows.”   The NIV reads “Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering.”    This is the ministry of the Messiah.  This is what Jesus does.  He is there to carry our griefs, our burdens, our pain, our sorrows.  The primary way He did this was through the cross.

            We see that as we go on to read in verses 5-6, But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned—every one—to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all. The cross is where atonement was made. The cross is where God’s attitude toward sin and its consequences in a fallen world are on display.  God is so serious about dealing with the root cause of pain, grief, and sorrow- that root cause being sin- that He sent His Son to die in the place of sinners and to suffer sin’s just punishment.  God is serious about what we label “the problem of evil.”

            Jesus carries our grief and sorrow as He carries us.  One way we experience that, I believe, is for us to come alongside one another and be the arms of Jesus.  We don’t come to be the Christian answer man or woman, but simply to grieve with the hurting.  We love them.  We may even silently come beside them, but we seek to love them with the love of Jesus.

I don’t know yet all that I will say at this funeral on Saturday, but I intend to read and speak on this passage from Isaiah 53.  I would very much appreciate your prayers for my cousin and all those affected by her son’s death.  Please pray for me that God would use me to bring the comfort of His Word. 

Paul Bankson
pbankson@gmail.com

Paul was born and raised in Birmingham, AL and graduated from Auburn University in 1986 with a degree in Business Administration. It was at Auburn that he met his wife, Connie. They were married in Ft. Lauderdale, FL and moved to Jackson, MS where he attended Reformed Theological Seminary graduating with a Master of Divinity in 1991. Upon graduation, Paul served as a Campus Minister with RUF, the campus ministry of the PCA, at Tennessee-Martin where the Banksons lived for 5 years. They moved to Macon, GA in 1996 to work with RUF at Mercer University and then Paul joined the pastoral staff at First Presbyterian Church of Macon as an Assistant Pastor in 1999. In 2004, Paul and his family moved to Warner Robins where he served as a church planter and then organizing Pastor of Houston Lake Presbyterian Church. In December 2014 Paul completed a Doctor of Ministry degree through Reformed Theological Seminary of Orlando. Paul and Connie have three sons, Andrew (23), Stephen (20), and Matthew (15). Paul enjoys grilling, camping with his family, and Auburn sports (War Eagle!).