Man of Sorrows

  • Jan. 17, 2013
  • #8014

Listen to Joni as she recalls the night she was visited by a dear friend who helped her encounter Jesus—the Man of Sorrows who is with us during our greatest hardships.

Hi, I’m Joni Eareckson Tada and you know how much I love hymns, right? Well, I have a beautiful story to share about this wonderful old hymn.

Man of Sorrows! What a name for the Son of God who came
Ruined sinners to reclaim! Hallelujah! What a Savior.

Oh, I remember this memory with crystal clarity: it was dark, depressing night when I was in the hospital. I had broken my neck only a few months earlier, and now, I was long out of ICU and out on the floor in a six-bed ward with five other young women who also suffered spinal cord injuries. The doctors told me that my paralysis was permanent, and that night I kept turning that fact over and over in my head. I tried hard to understand what it might mean, but my mind just wouldn’t go there. Total and permanent paralysis was just too horrific.

And God? Well, if what the doctors said were true, then He must have allowed it. But why?! I knew plenty of Bible verses from high school: James chapter 1 told me to welcome this trial as a friend, and Romans chapter 5 told me to rejoice in my suffering. Philippians chapter 1 said that it had been given to me to suffer, as though it really were some kind of gift. And Romans 8:28 assured me that all of this was going to fit into some marvelous plan for good.

I thought about all those verses, but that night in the hospital, those verses didn’t help. I felt very afraid, very alone, and very far from the Lord. Little did I know, though, that even then, Jesus was very, very near? Because later that night when visiting hours were over and the nurses at the station were on break, I turned my head on the pillow and saw a silhouetted figure in the doorframe of our ward. At first, it startled me. This figure got down on its hands and knees and began inching its way toward my bed in the corner.

When it got close, I saw it was Jacquie, my high school girlfriend. And as high school girlfriends at pajama sleepovers often do, she crawled up into bed with me, even snuggled her head on my pillow. Then, so as not to awaken my roommates, she started softly singing, “Man of Sorrows. What a name For the Son of God who came. Ruined sinners to reclaim! Hallelujah! What a Savior” I don’t know, but something she did changed me. My questions about God certainly didn’t get answered that night, but Jacquie gave me something far more poignant and powerful than answers. She helped me encounter Jesus — The Man of Sorrows — and all His compassion toward me, His very hurt child. Jacquie may have come that night to visit me, sneaking up the back stairs of the hospital, but Jesus also came to visit me. It’s what people need — a touch of Jesus, an encounter with Jesus — because we can never separate the Bible’s answers to our problems from the God of the Bible.

Do you know a friend who is hurting today? Pass on this encouragement, would you? Find a way to help her or him encounter the Lord Jesus. Give them His touch and your friend will never be the same.

© Joni and Friends


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