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)
Life isn’t always easy. In life there are problems, hardships and heartaches. But there’s nothing more difficult and nothing more painful in this life, than loss. What do you say to a parent who has lost their only daughter to a sickness? What do you say to a person who has lost their mobility in an accident? What do you say to those who have lost a job unexpectedly or stranded by their close friend or experienced their parent’s separation?
To be honest, there are no easy answers, and there are no human words that can bring comfort to those that have experienced loss in its varied shapes and forms. While some losses are harder to digest than others, a loss forces a person to ask like the Psalmist, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” At a time of failure and loss and suffering and death it is only human to ask questions like ‘Why God?, ‘Why me?” and “Why now?”
The “Why” questions are natural reactions to the brokenness we experience in life. It is really a cry for someone to hear our pain and come to our rescue. In Mark 15: 34 and Matthew 27:46 we read that at noon, when Jesus was crucified, darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon. And at three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” which means, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” This was a direct quote of the first verse in Psalm 22. At the end of the period of darkness, just before he died, Jesus called out, “It is finished” (John 19:30). This is a quote from the last verse of Psalm 22, which actually reads, “He has done it,” and which can also be translated as, “It is finished.”
Today, on Good Friday, the thought that God could forsake Jesus is so disturbing to so many of us. Yet, God did forsake Jesus so that you and I could be accepted. Jesus died on the cross crying, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” He experienced pain, suffering and loneliness so that you and I would never be alone in our pain, suffering and loneliness.
In your anger, confusion, shock and frustration, as you mourn and as you grieve, as you question and as you struggle, be reminded that God is with you in the thick of your suffering. Be assured of his words, “I will never leave you alone. I will always be with you” (Matthew 28:20).