With Anguish

I read a book a few years ago about a woman who served as a police officer. Her job was to visit the home of someone whose loved one had tragically died and deliver that sudden, terrible news to a stranger. She talked about how there was one consistent thing that always happened when a person received devastating news. She said that their bodies would collapse. They could not stand up. They would fall to the ground, or fall into her, or collapse against a wall. When anguish arrives, our bodies cannot stand up to it. We literally crumple.

There is a painting called, “Anguish” at the National Gallery of Victoria, in Melbourne, Australia. Anguish is an 1878 oil painting by August Friedrich Schenck. It depicts an anguished mother sheep standing over the dead body of its lamb, surrounded by a multitude of crows. This is often the image that appears in my mind when I witness anguish. 
Christ experienced the brokenness of our world, “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin.” (Hebrews 4:15, NIV)

One hymn writer took to this theme with these words:
Man of sorrows what a name
for the Son of God, who came
ruined sinners to reclaim:
Hallelujah, what a Savior!

Bearing shame and scoffing rude,
in my place condemned he stood,
sealed my pardon with his blood:
Hallelujah, what a Savior!

Guilty, helpless, lost were we;
blameless Lamb of God was he,
sacrificed to set us free:
Hallelujah, what a Savior!

He was lifted up to die;
“It is finished” was his cry;
now in heaven exalted high:
Hallelujah, what a Savior!

When he comes, our glorious King,
all his ransomed home to bring,
then anew this song we’ll sing:
Hallelujah, what a Savior! 

I wish for you to never know anguish, but when you do, I pray you might be held when your body cannot stand. 

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