Forsaken – 29 May 2020
By Xanthe Hancox
A Cry of Anguish and a Song of Praise
It’s not easy to talk about feelings of doubt when it comes to our faith. We tend sweep frustration, grief, and hurt out of sight, I know I do! We keep on singing hymns and praise songs, holding back from anything too chaotic or messy or doubt-filled.
But Psalms doesn’t put a blanket over human pain. Rather than conceal misery, psalmists pray it. In full voice in Psalm 22, David expresses his betrayal, loneliness and anger.
Psalm 22, of course, is quoted by Jesus on the cross. 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. We remember Psalm 22 for its declaration of forsakenness, but when Jesus recalled verse 1 he had not forgotten how the psalm ends. Even when David was feeling utterly abandoned by God, he could still say: ´For he has not despised or scorned the suffering of the afflicted one; he has not hidden his face from him but has listened to his cry for help.´ (v 24)
Jesus owned the weight of verse 1, but he would not feel forsaken for long. He knew he would see the Father’s face again — that he would sit and rule at his right hand. The man who died for sin would rise and be enthroned as Son.
Even after Jesus’ immeasurable gift on the cross, we can still suffer. In our own way we may face times when we feel forsaken. Feelings of desertion, absence, and abandonment are universal among those who have walked the path of faith.
Every Christian spends time in the spiritual desert. But, praise God, he is right there in the desert with us!
Prayer: Father, we pray for every person who feels forsaken. We ask for your comfort and presence. We pray in the name of our suffering Saviour. Amen