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My heart is glad
In 1976, Stevie Wonder released the album, Songs in the Key of Life. One of the enduring songs on that album is an upbeat, harmonica-laden, “Isn’t She Lovely,” a song that attempts to capture his feelings in the moments after his daughter, Aisha, was born:
Isn’t she lovely
Isn’t she wonderful
Isn’t she precious
Less than one minute old
I can’t believe what God has done
Through us he’s given life to one
But isn’t she lovely made from love.
In these words, he captured the joy that comes immediately after the pain of childbirth. Just seconds afterward, it is almost as if nothing has happened. Amazingly, the only sound in the room beside the child’s cries, is the sound of tears of joy falling to the floor.
The physical pain Jesus endured during the crucifixion process is difficult to surmise. Movies have attempted to depict it. Several physicians reviewed the case for the Journal of the American Medical Association some years ago. I’ve attempted at times over the last 17 years of my life as a Christian to conceptualize it, particularly during communion.
Perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised that God likened it to childbirth:
“He shall see the travail [a word used to describe childbirth] of his soul, and be satisfied” (Isaiah 53:11, KJV).
Surely, God alleviated the pain in some other, untold way!
Surely, God dispatched an angel down from heaven to accompany him!
In his vicarious suffering for our sins, Jesus, who refused pain relievers, who deserved to live, who was left to die, who cred, “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?”, who was very much aware that the special protection of his Father was no longer upon him, was afforded no extra comfort.
What was his anchor? How did he endure it?
He focused on the joy that God had revealed to him – the joy that was to come after the pain (cf. Hebrews 12:2). It was the joy of returning to the Father, and the possibility of bringing us with him, that saw him through.
“My heart is glad, and my whole being rejoices” (Psalm 16:9; Acts 2:25-26).
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