Think God's Abandoned You?
There are some Old Testament texts that are difficult to understand -- until you put Christ in them and they come to life. Psalm 22 is one of those texts.
Verse 1 of this psalm is the fourth statement Jesus made on the cross: "My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?" (see Matthew 27:46). This was His cry when that deep darkness fell on the area of crucifixion in the middle of the day.
This was also the first and only recorded time where Jesus referred to His Father not as My Father but as the generic form God. This was not a lapse of faith; it was simply a cry of disorientation, of broken fellowship. As the sin of all humanity was placed on Jesus (see Isaiah 53:6), He felt that separation from His Father and cried out.
Why was this separation, this anguish necessary? Psalm 22:3 gives us the answer: "But You are holy, enthroned in the praises of Israel." That's the reason for the cross: God is holy, and His perfection can't just mingle with our imperfection. No matter how good you think you are, it's not enough.
That's why Jesus, the perfect One, became the substitute for all the imperfect ones -- you and me. As 2 Corinthians 5:21 says, God "made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him." Through Jesus' atoning death, we can be reconciled with God. That's why the great word of the gospel is not do; it's done. Jesus didn't hang on the cross for a while and then say, "Okay, this is all I've got. Now finish it." He said, "It is finished. It's done. It's over. The task is completed. You can have fellowship with God."
Maybe when you read that cry of Jesus -- "My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?" -- it echoes something you've been feeling in your heart. Maybe you feel like you've been deserted by God. I want to tell you that if you're in Christ, that's a theological impossibility.
Now, you may be experiencing the silence of God, where God isn't speaking to you like He used to; even David and Isaiah experienced that. Or you may be experiencing the discipline of God; we all do at some point. In fact, you may even be experiencing the displeasure of God due to your own sin. Even though you're a believer, sin has erected a barrier in your life (see Isaiah 59:1-2), and you need to confess it or reconcile with the person you've hurt.
But forsaken by God? Never. Even when it sure seems like it, what it seems is not what is so. Jesus said, "I am with you always, even to the end of the age" (Matthew 28:20). You could never write forsaken over your life if you're in Christ. He went through the darkness so you could walk in the light. He was forsaken so you never would have to be. Psalm 22 points to that truth, so rest in that today.
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