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A Word to those who Feel Forsaken (part 3)


Jesus’ word of desolation from Psalm 22:1 is not without hope. Scholars believe that Rabbi’s and Rabbinical students would not have memorized or meditated on isolated verses of Scripture. They would quote aloud the first verse of a passage and then meditate on the content that followed. If this is true of Jesus, he quoted Psalm 22:1 and then meditated on the entire Psalm. Psalm 22 is a song of desolation and pain. But it is not without hope. Consider how it moves toward a climactic end:

“I will proclaim your name to my brothers and sister. I will praise you among your assembled people. Praise the Lord, all you who fear him! Honor him, all you descendants of Jacob! Show him reverence, all you descendents of Jacob! For he has not ignored or belittled the suffering of the needy. He has not turned his back on them, but has listened to their cries for help. I will praise you in the great assembly. I will fulfill my vows in the presence of those who worship you. The poor will eat and be satisfied. All who seek the Lord will praise him. Their hearts will rejoice with everlasting joy. The whole earth will acknowledge the Lord and return to him. All the families of the nations will bow down before him. For royal power belongs to the Lord. He rules all the nations. Let the rich of the earth feast and worship. Bow before him, all who are motal, all whose lives will end as dust. Our children will also serve him. Future generations will hear about the wonders of the Lord. His righteous acts will be told to those not yet born. They will hear about everything he has done.” (Psalm 22:22-31, NLT)

Though Jesus cries out, he cries out in hope. And though he may not have been able to sense it, in that very moment of great desolation, God was doing his greatest work.

Henri Nouwen writes, “When God’s absence was most loudly expressed, God’s presence was most clearly revealed.”

Perhaps you’ve experienced a time in your life when you felt that you were forsaken by God. Maybe in this moment you feel forsaken by God. You’re not. Not like that. Jesus experienced desolation so that you and I would never have to. He experienced separation so we would never experience separation.

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