Loneliness is a bitter pill to swallow. Hard times are a reality we endure. Emptiness comes from a broken world which is seeking to find an answer but fails to believe in truth. What is worse is that God doesn’t make sense sometimes. God fails to show up in the way we want him to.
I’ve felt alone at so many points in my life. So many times I have felt alone in the crowd, wondering what my purpose is, wondering why I even exist and if I even make a difference. Who will miss me if I’m gone anyway? Am I really even making an impact?
With so many questions flowing through my mind, I always come to the same place-have I simply been forsaken by God? Has the Lord forgotten about me? In my waiting I find my patience is fading.
The Psalmist echoed in Psalm 88:3-4, 5-6 & 18,
“For my life is full of troubles, and death draws near. I am as good as dead, like a strong man who has no strength left…I am forgotten, cut off from your care. You have thrown me into the lowliest pit; into the darkest depths…You have taken away my companions and loved ones. Darkness is my only friend.”
In despair I cry out, wondering where God is sometimes. In my emptiness I search for God but often I cannot find him. Many times I begin searching my heart, looking for the sins that I have been or continue to commit and attribute my loneliness to that.
In my attempt to become a better Christian, I engage sin, fight against it, only to fall short again and again. In my fight against my flesh and in the midst of all the battles I lose, I fall face down and cry out, “Why have you forsaken me?”
Someone else, someone who is greater than I am spoke those exact words too. While these words are first recorded by the Psalmist, they were spoken by the Son of the Living God, Jesus Christ.
Matthew 27:46 “At about three o’clock Jesus called out with a loud voice, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” which means “My God, my God, why have your abandoned me?”
Was Jesus forsaken by God on the cross? I was told that countless times as I grew up in the church. I heard the story, again and again, that God turned away from Jesus as he became sin for us.
Of course, there’s more to the story. And the truth is Jesus was not forsaken by God.
When Jesus spoke those words, he was reciting Psalm 22:1, which was a prophetic psalm written by David. Psalm 22:1 reads, “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me? Why are you so far away when I groan for help?”
Jesus, while on the cross, was facing the worst punishment a person could endure. During the final twelve hours of his life, Jesus endured the worst treatment of any human being. He was betrayed by a friend (Judas), he was abandoned by all of his disciples, he was denied (Peter), he was tried, convicted, beaten with a whip, stripped of his clothing, had a crown made out of thorns placed upon his head, and he was crucified among two thieves.
Jesus felt pain, abandonment, loss, betrayal, but was he forsaken? No, he was not forsaken. We read further on in Psalm 22:24, “For he has not despised or abhorred the affliction of the afflicted, and he has not hidden his face from him, but has heard, when he cried to him.”
God wasn’t forsaking Jesus on the cross; he was allowing him to suffer. God was pleased to crush his own Son for the sake of our sins. Jesus felt the sting of separation, he felt the pain of abandonment, and he felt the emptiness with the feeling of being forsaken but he was not.
I am reminded that in this life, which is scarred by sin, I often feel the weight of burdens and I feel alone and empty. There are times I wonder if I will make it through life and I wonder if I have any value whatsoever. There are times when I feel abandoned that I am reminded of this: Jesus felt forsaken.
There are times in the midst of loneliness when Jesus comes in, puts his arm around me and says, “I know how you feel. I’ve felt the same way before.”
Jesus was not forsaken and neither are we.
All Scriptures Taken from New Living Translation via http://www.biblegateway.com/
- Psalm 88
- Matthew 27:46
- Psalm 22:1
- Psalm 22:24