About the ninth hour Jesus cried out in a loud voice “Eloi, Eloi lama sabachthani?” which means, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me.Matthew 27:46 (NIV)
These words pierce me every time I read them. They are words wrung from the deep places of the soul. Words that come from the depths of pain and anguish.
He had been betrayed by one of his close friends. One of the men who was in his inner circle had denied him. Those who had shouted his name in triumph just days before, now called for him to be crucified.
He was in the dark, he was crying out, he was betrayed, he was abandoned and he was in pain.
He knows what it is to be forsaken.
He can relate when your once beautiful, happy, carefree existence goes wrong. When sickness intrudes, when grieving takes place, when all is not well with your soul. That he knows.
Our relationship is not with a saviour who might have some idea what it possibly could be like to feel forsaken. It is not a relationship with someone who only has an inkling about pain. He knows pain, betrayal, and sorrow intimately. He experienced them for himself.
So, when we, like him, call out those words, those questions from the depths of our hearts, he understands. He does not condemn us for our questions, for he had them too. He does not shame us for our disbelief or take us to task for our inability to see the bigger picture in our suffering.
He is present with us in the times of abandonment. He holds us as we ask the questions and listen to the echo of silence in reply.
“May God protect us from this kind of grief”
But he doesn’t
he allows it to happen,
and we cry,
and we weep,
and we mourn,
and we shout,
and we question him.
And we listen to his deafening silence
waiting in vain for some acknowledgement,
some inkling that he knows,
that he understands.
So we yell,
and we scream,
and we collapse,
and we beat our chests,
and we wail.
And again we hear nothing.
And when our grief is spent
and the maelstrom passed,
we feel his arms
holding our fragile frame
as we gently weep.
May God protect us from this kind of grief.
And if not,
may he be there.
This devotional series was originally sent to newsletter subscribers in Easter of 2018. I pray it gives you grace for your journey. If you would like to get my monthly newsletter please sign up here