“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, from the words of my groaning? O my God, I cry by day, but you do not answer, and by night, but I find no rest.”
Psalm 22:1-2 ESV
The majority of true believers know that suffering is a part of the Christian journey that we cannot escape. Life doesn’t become easier and more (materially) prosperous when God welcomes us into His family.
The Christian’s suffering can come in many different forms, like persecution, physical pain, financial insecurity, but also emotional and mental poverty, loneliness and distress. The latter is rarely spoken of in Christian circles, but can be just as painful as any physical ailment.
The late British pastor, Charles Spurgeon, rightfully said: “We very speedily care for bodily diseases; they are too painful to let us slumber in silence: and they soon urge us to seek a physician or a surgeon for our healing. Oh, if we were as much alive to the more serious wounds of our inner man.”
David, the author of Psalm 22, felt completely abandoned by God. He was continuously groaning and crying out for God to rescue him, but seemingly without any answer to his plea and no peace within his circumstances. Perhaps this is how you are feeling at the moment… God, are you there? Can you hear me? I feel so far away from you… Don’t you care about me?
Besides Psalm 22 being a lament from David, it is actually prophetic of Jesus on the cross. In Matthew 27:46, Jesus quotes the psalmist’s words: “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” Not only was Jesus completely abandoned by His Father, He also suffered the worst humiliation, exhaustion and physical pain imaginable. Not simply because He was “despised” and “mocked” (Psalm 22:6-7); or because His bones were “out of joint” and His strength “dried up”; (14-15) or because they “pierced” His hands and feet (16).
It was because of what Jesus carried on the cross – the sins of the world – and what was poured out on Him on the cross – the full cup of God’s wrath.
Even though we may feel abandoned by God at times and suffer pain, despair and weariness, God’s people will never truly be abandoned by Him, because of Jesus. Jesus was forsaken by God, so that we never have to be. Because of Jesus’s affliction on the cross, our own suffering will only be temporary and is nothing in comparison to the glory that will be revealed to us when we come face-to-face with Jesus in His New Creation (Romans 8:18).
Let’s be careful not to let our emotions define our reality and God’s presence and love toward us. Our feelings can deceive and lie to us. God’s Word is the Truth. Open your Bible and preach the Gospel to yourself every day. Do not withdraw, but surround yourself (even if socially-distanced 🙂 ) with God’s people and reach out to your closest friends when you feel helpless. Do not lose heart.