“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?
Why are you so far from saving me,
so far from my cries of anguish?
My God, I cry out by day, but you do not answer,
by night, but I find no rest.” – Psalm 22:1-2
In our deep distress we can feel abandoned by everyone, even God. These are the dark days that come as a result of living in a fallen and broken world and being fallen and broken ourselves. When we feel forsaken, there are three things to remember:
1.Take it before the Lord
David–the writer of this psalm–tells the Lord exactly how he feels. Throughout the psalm, David boldly brings his situation and his thoughts before the Lord, as raw and unholy as they sound. We must follow his example verbalizing our hurts and fears to our listening heavenly Father.
2.Remember the past
David goes back-and-forth throughout the psalm reminding God–but mainly himself–about the Lord’s faithfulness in the past. He praises God for who He is and what He has done and what he knows God will do. It is a beautiful mixture of heartfelt praise and earnest supplication. David’s worship and petitions are intertwined, one bleeding into the next. We must do the same. We must praise and worship the Lord for who He is and what He has done in our lives, confident that our Lord is “the same yesterday, today, and forever” (Hebrews 13:8).
3.Realize that Christ empathizes with us and was forsaken for us
In Matthew 27 Jesus echoes David when He is on the cross taking the sin of the world on His shoulders. The perfect Christ becomes sin and cries out to His Father “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?”
We will never know the experience of taking the sin of the world upon us as we die, whipped and beaten on a cross of wood as the Father turns His face away. We cannot comprehend what that must have been like. And yet, Jesus, in His compassion knows exactly how we feel when we think we are forsaken because He actually was. He knows it much deeper than we will ever experience, but He meets us where we are at. We think and feel we are forsaken, but we are not, precisely because Jesus was. He was forsaken so that we would not be and through His sacrifice He can perfectly relate to our feelings of distance and separation from God.
What marvelous grace! What perfect love! Meeting us in our perceived isolation, empathizing with us, and gently reminding us of the truth that He is with us, Immanuel. That he never left us. That He is faithful. Reminding us of His acts of love throughout history and our own lives. Rest in the strong, nail-pierced hands of our savior and know that you are not forsaken, that you will never be forgotten. Rest and worship the Lord.