The Godforsaken

The Godforsaken

“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”

Jesus’ words from the cross are not words of victory. They are not words of triumph. They are not words of power, honor, or vindication. These are not words of one who has conquered anything. These are words of abandonment. On the cross, being mocked as He bled out, Jesus turned to His Father and cried, “Where are you!?”

Jesus was alone.

We have not fully understood the cross until we understand the agony and defeat that Jesus felt. His cry of the first line of Psalm 22 tells us that Jesus, who was both fully God and fully human, felt abandoned by God the Father. Despite the fact that He had lived a perfect life, in complete union with the Father, His life ended with him hanging on a cross – Rome’s ultimate tool of torture and shame. Sure, Jesus predicted His resurrection – but in that moment, with the full realization of death and shame on His shoulders, Jesus was godforsaken.

How can this be? Isn’t Jesus God? How can God be godforsaken?

Yes, Jesus, God the Son, is fully God. But as He walked this Earth, He was also fully human and experienced, pain, suffering, and even abandonment in the same ways that we do. So, as He hung on the cross, He cried out to God the Father asking why He was abandoned.

Now, Jesus’ words come from the first line of Psalm 22. Quoting the first line of a Psalm, in that culture, was the equivalent of reciting the whole Psalm. So, to fully understand what Jesus was saying, one would need to read the Psalm; however, it is clear that Jesus was at least feeling forsaken by God in that moment. I would be hesitant to say that God the Father did abandon Him; however, that feeling of abandonment was certainly there.

“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”

Have you ever felt abandoned? Have you ever felt alone? Has there ever been a time in your life where your world has fallen into Hell and you were left crying out, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”

Have you been godforsaken?

Maybe it was a time when the dream you had when you were young finally died. Maybe it was when the one you loved stopped loving you in return. Maybe it was when your addictions finally began to cause the foundations of your life to collapse. Maybe it was when you realized how little sense it makes to put your faith in one that you have never seen. But, whatever which way, perhaps there has been a time when you have found yourself in tears, anger, and agony declaring that God has forsaken you.

Have your cursed God for not being present? Have you ignored God because He has not aided you in your grief? Have you stopped believing because you don’t know if there is anything worth believing in?

One of the main reasons that people deny belief in God is because of the problem of evil. If God is all-loving and all-powerful, then why do bad things happen?

I’ve spent the last three years trying to figure out an answer to that question and I hate to break it to you – I do not have an answer. What I can tell you, is that the God that I worship does not sit distantly, observing grief from afar. No, the God I worship knows – intimately knows what it feels like to be godforsaken. Because Jesus, fully God, entered into human flesh and lived the human experience with all of its pain, torment, and shame. Living and dying among us, Jesus knows what it is like to feel that God has forsaken us.

I may not know why bad things happen. What I do know is that I do not suffer alone. Praise be to God, Jesus is the God of the godforsaken!

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