He who pities them leads them and guides them beside springs of water. Sing out, O heavens, and rejoice, O earth, break forth into song, you mountains. For the Lord comforts his people and shows mercy to his afflicted. But Zion said, “The Lord has forsaken me; my Lord has forgotten me.” Can a mother forget her infant, be without tenderness for the child of her womb? Even should she forget, I will never forget you. Isaiah 49.8-15.
The Prophet Isaiah reminds us of God’s tenderness and loving pursuit. This is the real truth of Jesus' passion and death. Our God enfleshed in Jesus will be wounded out of love for us. And so the invitation is to honestly even joyfully take ownership of our lostness, our very real need for mercy, our desperate need to be found and "pitied" by Jesus. For our sinfulness, apartness from God can never estrange us from him. But instead, once we beg his mercy, it becomes a very great gateway which will lead us closer to him.
Jesus has noticed us, lost in our sinful truth and is rushing toward us to take us to himself, even into his wounded side as refuge. He loses himself in love over us. He can’t help himself. This is the same Lord who will come through locked doors on Easter day, because he cannot bear to be apart from his frightened apostles. This is the God who in the very beginning came looking for Adam in the garden:
“Adam, where are you? Why are you hiding?”
“I took what was not mine; I am naked, exposed, so naturally I hid myself from you. Please go away.”
“No, no, I cannot. Please come out. Come out, show yourself. I have sought you in sorrow. You have nothing to fear. Come out to my side.”
Will we allow ourselves to be endlessly sought after by Christ out of love? Or will we choose to be stranded and alone, pretending that everything is really just fine? Our lostness can be our joy because it gives us ready access and makes us totally available to him. That is why it would be foolish, so very foolish to pretend that we are not lost, sinful and empty.
On the cross we see a God who overdoes it, loves us more than we know, to the end, no matter what. We are invited to allow ourselves continually to be overpowered by the mystery of his love.