There is a friend of mine who’s been brought to the dust.

Do you know what I mean by that? Brought to the dust?

It is a reference to Job, who experienced such profound loss and suffering that the only way he could cope was to sit in the dust and pour it on his head. Have you ever experienced that, pain at such a magnitude that you didn’t know what to do but you had to DO something? My friend experienced this, and she told me that when she couldn’t take it anymore she would become very still, with her eyes closed, and envision sitting in the dust, scooping it up and pouring it over her head. It was the only true expression of what was going on inside of her. She made this concept so very REAL to me, and so from then on she would tell me when she was in the dust, and I would join her there. I am here, I would tell her, and she would know that I had also become still, that I had closed my eyes and I was in that same place next to her, making not a sound, only that of my hands scraping the ground, of the earth sifting down through my hair, catching in my eyelids, making mud tracks down my face.

You know who else was in the dust? Jesus Christ.

His mission was ugly and traumatizing.

It was not glorious, and so we have a tendency of feeling sorry for Him.

Isaiah says, “…we esteemed Him stricken.” (53:4b).

Five verses later we see, “Yet it was the will of the Lord to the crush Him…[and] the will of the Lord shall prosper in His hand.” (53:10)

Did you catch that last part? The part that says “prosper”? And did you notice how it comes AFTER the part about God’s will? Watch what happens next:

“Out of the anguish of His soul He shall see and be satisfied; by His knowledge shall the righteous One, my servant, make many to be accounted righteous.” (53:11)

Apparently the best part isn’t getting out of the dust, its being put IN the dust, because in the dust we can accomplish the work of the Father… on behalf of others?

But I’m getting ahead of myself.

So my friend who is in the dust, these past months I have watched her endure utmost betrayal and constant neglect, and the hand of the Lord has told her to stay. Just stay. In my heart I know that this is about God and my friend, and the mighty work He has done in her and wants to do through her. It isn’t about my friend and the other parties involved, it isn’t about the other parties and God (although it could be, and we just don’t know it). It’s about my friend, and her God. My God. The God of the universe.

The details of this story aren’t necessary to get the main point, which is God telling my friend, “Look like my Son. I have a work to accomplish, and this is your part in it…”

This morning, during my prayer time, I was begging God to vindicate my friend. To not let her faint. To stop asking her to be in the dust. Raise her up, God! I hollered in my heart. I got really excited when, a few minutes later, I read in Isaiah, “Behold, I have taken from your hand the cup of staggering…and I will put it into the hand of your tormentors, who have said to you, ‘Bow down that we might pass over’; and you have made your back like the ground and like the street for them to pass over.” (51:22&23)

But then I kept reading. And I came across the part in Isaiah chapter 53 about how Jesus bore our griefs and sorrows, our transgressions, and about how “we esteemed Him smitten”, we decided that God had struck Him down, instead of seeing what was really going on: Jesus allowing Himself to be used by God, whatever that looked like. And what was the result? He saved the entire world, and everyone on it, until the end of the time! Said what?! And we esteemed Him stricken? Afflicted or not, the greatest work in history was accomplished.

The point is that “He was oppressed, and He was afflicted, yet He opened not His mouth.” (53:7a)

I had to swallow hard when I got here.

Really, God? Really? There was a heaviness that came over me. A deep sense of sadness. Because God was telling me that He was encouraging my friend to look like His Son, that He has a will to accomplish, and I was telling her to look like God, and accomplish her own will. And it really stung. It stung to have to sit back and just let her be in the dust, to just let her keep laying on the ground, so that her back was the road for her enemies to pass over.

Man.

What else is there to do but lay down too? And hold her hand. And hope that sometimes one of them could step on me so that she could get a small, minuscule, infinitesimal break from all of the heels in her face and the kicks to the back of her head.

Because here’s how it worked:

Jesus Christ Himself never asked God to vindicate Him.

You know why?

Because He took God at His word (51:22&23). He was one-hundred percent sold out to the work of His Father, and so He prayed, “Your will, not mine.” He knew in His heart that God would take care of Him in the end, that He would be vindicated at the right time, and that it didn’t matter who saw it. And I have known all of that in my heart about my friend, and I was having a really hard time swallowing it. Until today. Well, it’s still hard to swallow. But I know for a fact that I don’t want to get in the way of the amazing work that God has for my friend. That would be like trying to steal her blessings. In fact, I even have to admit to myself what an honor it is, for the Father to ask her to look like His Son.

Allow me to reassure you that, despite my fallenness and the pressure I put on her, she is doing a fabulous job. She has basically grown a beard.

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