1 My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?
Why are you so far from saving me,
so far from my cries of anguish?
2 My God, I cry out by day, but you do not answer,
by night, but I find no rest. (Psalm 22:1-2 NIV)
In both Matthew and Mark, Jesus says these words from the cross.
These are an accusation against God, a question of why God has abandoned David. The verses that follow, though, affirm God’s faithfulness and deliverance, God’s blessing and presence, even in the midst of suffering and torment. The faithfulness and deliverance of God will not only come to David despite his anguished question but to all the earth. Christians hear Jesus in these words of David and the ultimate promise of salvation for all the earth he offers.
The faithful can question – the blessed can cry out. I certainly do not and have not suffered as Jesus did but I do know how David felt when he authored these words. Right now I find myself in a minor time of feeling forsaken, of feeling my prayers are unanswered and my pleas are unheard.
David’s answer is to speak not only his doubt but his faith; not only to question but to remember the ways that God has answered in the past. I need today to remember the many ways that God has blessed me even down to this moment. I need to recall the many answered prayers, the countless ways that God has been faithful even when – like now – God seems a little deaf . He is not.
And as David realizes and Christ embodies, my struggles can be a blessing to others. My doubts and questions can lead to greater blessing for me and a witness to God’s goodness. And, of course, because these words remind me of Christ the final and complete answer of God my frustration points me back to hope.
Today, O God, I feel unanswered. Today I feel not surrounded by literal enemies but rather by challenges that threaten to swallow me up. Yet you are faithful. You are mighty to bless. Jesus felt and seemed abandoned – yet you raised him to life again. Jesus cried out in anguish and you heard but had a better answer to his bitter moment. May I live and pray and speak with such faith today as I not only remember these words of David but also those that followed. In the name of the one who was not abandoned… Amen.