Focal Passage: Psalm
22:1-10, 14-15, 19-21; Mark 15:33-39
“Eloi, Eloi, lama
sabachthani?” “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” The word “forsaken”
can also be translated abandoned or deserted. First spoken by King David, then
Jesus, these words are a cry from the heart.
Have you ever felt as though
God has forsaken you? If so, you are in good company.
The words uttered by King
David and Jesus have been spoken by countless millions of perplexed and
suffering people through the centuries.
It is a question as old as
humanity. It is as new as the pain of a broken heart. My God, my God, why…?
I remember accompanying a
highway patrolman to tell a young woman in my congregation that her husband had
been killed in a car accident caused by a drunken driver. I will never forget
her deep pain and the way she cried out to God. “Why God? Where were you?”
What do we have to offer
someone who is in the depths of despair? We have a Christ who has walked that
road and who is, therefore, able to enter into full sympathy with us.
We can be sure that God is
not angry because we question.
After all, Jesus Himself
The articulation of the
absence of God in Psalm 22 lasts for 21 verses. Who knows how long those verses
represent in actual time? The feeling of abandonment can last a long time.
However, even in the worst
situations of life we must cling to God.
Charles Spurgeon said that
it is easy to believe in God when life smiles on you, but it is much more
difficult when life frowns on you.
The psalmist says, “My
strength is dried up…and my tongue sticks to the roof of my mouth; you lay me
in the dust of death” (Ps. 22:15).
Although spoken by David,
these words were fulfilled by Jesus’ suffering during His crucifixion. John
19:28 says, “Later, knowing that all was now completed, and so that the
Scripture would be fulfilled, Jesus said, ‘I am thirsty.’”
It is striking to me that
the very order of the psalms seems to suggest that we can rely on God.
The psalm immediately
following Psalm 22 is, of course, Psalm 23 which begins “The Lord is my
shepherd, I shall not want.”
This is Passion Week. Easter
trumps Good Friday. God’s healing triumphs over tragedy. A song of despair can
become a song of thanksgiving as we cling to God, “who gives us the victory
through our Lord Jesus Christ!” (1 Cor. 15:57).