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Men of Sorrows

by Crossworld
in Disciple-making, Europe, Story, Sweden
A Swede finds unlikely camaraderie.

SWEDEN — It was October when Sven and Crossworld worker James met at the retreat center that Sven managed. After realizing they had shared interests like travel, motorcycles and sports, the men struck up a friendship. Soon, Sven shared his life story.

Sven was mellow and gentle, although he was a big bear of a man who had lived a tough life. Abuse, abandonment and rebellion filled his childhood. Not surprisingly, anger, depression and divorce characterized his life as an adult. The latest stage of his life had brought total burnout, hospitalization and finally, a change of lifestyle.

As their conversation turned to spiritual matters and Christian ethics, James challenged Sven to read Isaiah 53 on his own and try to identify whom the text described.

As Sven read, “He was despised and forsaken of men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief; And like one from whom men hide their face, He was despised, and we did not esteem Him” (Isaiah 53:3), he found himself relating to this Man who had suffered so much.

The next day, Sven told James, “It’s clearly a description of the suffering of Jesus. It wasn’t pretty,” he said, “and it was completely unjust. He didn’t deserve that.”

James agreed, and inwardly rejoiced as he explained what Jesus had done on the cross, and why, as Sven listened.

“Can I pray for you?” asked James.

Sven looked surprised, but answered, “Please.”

After the “amen,” Sven ― a bear of man ― gave James just what you’d expect: a bear hug.

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