My God, my God, why have your forsaken me?
Sometimes followers of Jesus think that negative thoughts about God are somehow an act of unfaith. So they bury the ragged edges of their lives. They sweep frustration, grief, and hurt out of sight. They keep a stiff upper lip, singing “Victory in Jesus” one more time. They hold back from thinking messy thoughts. They avoid chaotic or doubt–filled prayer.
As the ancient prayer book of God’s people, Psalms doesn’t put a blanket over human pain. Rather than conceal misery, psalmists pray it. In full voice, they express their betrayal, loneliness, disease, and anger.
Psalm 22 is quoted by Jesus. In a page–turning story that no one could guess, God’s own Son gathered all our pain and misery and took it with him to the cross. At the center of Christian faith is the God who suffers for us.
Even after Jesus’ immeasurable gift on the cross, we can still suffer. In our own way we may face times when we feel forsaken. In a place and time that is unique to us, we may enter our personal spiritual Sahara. Feelings of desertion, absence, and abandonment are universal among those who have walked the path of faith. Ancient Christians called this Deus Absconditus—the God who is hidden.
Every Christian spends time in the spiritual desert. But, praise God, he is right there in the desert with us!
Father, we pray for every person who feels forsaken. We ask for your comfort and presence. We pray in the name of our suffering Savior. Amen
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