“About the ninth hour Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?”—which means, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”” (Matthew 27:46)
“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, so far from the words of my groaning?” (Psalm 22:1)
Even though there is so much we can directly relate to in the life of Jesus, there are things we’ll never understand. Fully God, but at the same time fully human. A man, one of us, who understands our grief, our joy, our longings, our darkness. But untouched by the curse, unaffected by the fall.
But there is one thing that I will never, ever comprehend, and doubt I ever will… being forsaken.
I’ve been dissed, ditched, dumped, insulted, disliked, looked down upon, left out, disregarded, dismissed, shunned, underestimated, misunderstood, disenfranchised, excommunicated (ok, perhaps not that one…), laid off, disconnected, disappointed, put aside, and put down. And many other unpleasant things. (I imagine I’ve even been despised and hated, but I’m unaware of it, thankfully…)
But I’ve NEVER been forsaken. Utter abandonment, total absence, complete solitude. Truth be told, I’ve never known the opposite either – complete harmony, total unison, absolute togetherness. As close as Vicki and I are, it’s not a perfect bond – no bond is, since we fallen critters aren’t capable of that.
But Jesus was and is capable of total communion with the Father. He walked in absolute oneness with His Father, knowing His will in perfect clarity. Being sure of His steps, in absolute conformity with the desires of the Father. And never knew a time when He didn’t have that bond of total and complete knowing of the Father, and being known.
Until that day. The darkness that covered Jerusalem was nothing compared to the utter blackness when the Father turned His back on the Son. When, for the first time in His existence, Jesus was totally and utterly alone. The physical torture of the cross, I imagine, was the lesser issue. The greater was the aloneness. Forsaken.
There is no joy in Easter without remembering the blackness of Good Friday.
We can trust the One who was tempted like us, laughed and cried like us, knew the heights and depths of human emotion, and became like us in all ways. Except one.
He was forsaken.
I know there’s a great ending to this story, and we’ll get there. But understand this, dear ones – when we are at our lowest, when we are at our blackest, when we see all the world around us as nothing more than a deep pit, to sink into and never return from, remember…
He was forsaken. We aren’t. And He returned from the pit. Through Him, so can we.
Have a blessed Easter.