“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”
Recently, I’ve been watching a show on History channel called Alone. Contestants are dropped off into a remote wilderness and compete to see who can survive the longest. Alone. They film their own journey, they find their own food, and build their own shelters, all completely alone. The goal is to outlast everyone.
Contestants’ knowledge of plant-based food, fishing, and bushcraft are all put to the test but contestant for contestant, every single one of them, say that the hardest thing about the challenge is having zero contact with anybody else. Think about the silence, the isolation, the loneliness.
How many people have ever felt abandoned? By friends? By family? By God? Abandoned. Completely cut off. Alone.
Jesus’ cry from the cross is “Eli Eli lema sabachthani.” My God my God why have you forsaken me? I wonder how many of us have cried out with those same words? Maybe you feel abandoned by God.
The truth is, just because God is silent, doesn’t mean he is absent. In moments where is feels like God is silent, cry out to him. Be bold. Ask tough questions. Tell God you feel abandoned. The reality is, he can take it.
Israel had a culture of lament, one where it was appropriate and even encouraged to cast your cares upon God. Jesus’ own cry from the cross is a quote of the introductory verses to one such Psalm. Psalm 22.
“My God, my God, why have you abandoned me? Why are you so far away when I groan for help? Every day I call to you, my God, but you do not answer. Every night I lift my voice, but I find no relief. Yet you are holy, enthroned on the praises of Israel. Our ancestors trusted in you, and you rescued them. They cried out to you and were saved. They trusted in you and were never disgraced.” Psalm 22:1-5 (NLT)
When it feels like God is absent; lament, cry out, express your emotions to God.
Questions for Reflection
- Do you feel, or have you ever felt, abandoned by God?
- Are you afraid to express your true feelings, emotions, and experiences to God?
- Find some time today to sit quietly with God and express your emotions, (lament if you need to lament), and then patiently wait for God to respond.