About the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “ELI, ELI, LAMA SABACHTHANI?” that is, “MY GOD, MY GOD, WHY HAVE YOU FORSAKEN ME?”
I think that all of us come to this place at one time or another in our walk with God. We cannot see His hand at work; cannot feel His presence near us; cannot understand what is going on. While Jesus was quoting a psalm (Psalm 22:1), there is a fundamental truth written down by the psalmist and crying from the cross: we will all go through times when we feel like God has forsaken us.
Some parts of my life are in this place right now. There are things going on that I do not understand; challenges that seem like they will never be surmounted. The encouragement that I take from this verse is twofold.
One, I am encouraged because I am in good company. If Jesus Christ Himself felt like God had abandoned Him, then there is no shame; no condemnation for me in feeling the same thing. In point of fact, I can take comfort in knowing that the sense of the loss of God’s presence reveals that it was felt before that. I cannot feel the loss of something I never had.
Two, this is not the end. Not for Christ on the cross. Not for me in my life. The cross was the place where Jesus’ mission was fulfilled and salvation purchased for all who will receive it. In a similar vein, God has a definite purpose in those times when I feel like He has left me alone. It may be a time of purification. It may be a trial I must endure to become more like Him. Whatever it is, it is not the end of me, but only a step in the process of being conformed to the image of Himself.
No matter how it might feel, I am never forsaken by God. Jesus was at the exact center of God’s will when He felt that God had abandoned Him. The same may be true in my life.