The servant grew up before God—a scrawny seedling,
a scrubby plant in a parched field.
There was nothing attractive about him,
nothing to cause us to take a second look.
He was looked down on and passed over,
a man who suffered, who knew pain firsthand.
One look at him and people turned away.
We looked down on him, thought he was scum.
But the fact is, it was our pains he carried—
our disfigurements, all the things wrong with us.
We thought he brought it on himself,
that God was punishing him for his own failures.
But it was our sins that did that to him,
that ripped and tore and crushed him—our sins!
He took the punishment, and that made us whole.
Through his bruises we get healed.
We’re all like sheep who’ve wandered off and gotten lost.
We’ve all done our own thing, gone our own way.
And God has piled all our sins, everything we’ve done wrong on him, on him.
Isaiah 53:2-6, Message Bible
Flu season rolls around and it seems people around here are preparing to get sick. Getting medicine, just in case, getting the shot, checking their PTO days to see how many they’ve got for when they get sick, all as though getting sick is a certainty. Please don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying these things are bad and that we shouldn’t take measures to prevent the flu, but isn’t staying well through flu season just as likely a certainty as getting sick, given whose we are?
When I read this passage from Isaiah, I think that it is more honoring to God to plan to stay well, to recognize the provision He made for my well-being, not just protection from the flu, but paying for my health, taking the stripes that brought my healing. I have heard it taught that each stripe represented a major disease. I don’t know about that, but I believe that God anticipated flu season when He promised healing to His children. And I think it is good faith to anticipate staying well through the season.
Father, how wonderful is Your provision for our well-being, You thought of everything. I can’t imagine watching my son take the stripes for someone else, knowing my son didn’t deserve them and others did. What it must have done to Your heart to see His body bruised so badly and to think that He did that for me. Forgive me for times when I have taken that for granted. As flu season gets underway, help me to keep my eyes on my Healer, Your precious and wounded Son. I ask in His name, Amen.
picture credit: eiu.edu