Lent Devotion Day 42

Source: Ken Costa

Matthew 27:46 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
46 And about three o’clock Jesus cried with a loud voice, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” that is, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”

“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” We hear the torment in his cry. Jesus is, for the first time, separated from God. But still he says, “My God.” All of us know times of darkness, though for some of us it’s darker than for others. Abandonment, loneliness, fear, grief, rejection, and pain. And in response at times, only divine silence. Just like Jesus. Perhaps all we can manage, with him, is “My God, my God, my God.” But the same Holy Spirit who armed the loving relationship between Father and Son in the waters of the Jordan River is present in the garden of Gethsemane and even at that moment of agony and abandonment on the cross. However dark things are, we can still say, “Come, Holy Spirit!”  

The curtain was ripped in two. There is now no barrier between us and God. All of us can come into his presence. That’s you. And me. And now. And always. All we need to do is take a step forward.

The forsakenness of Christ has become a promise of God’s eternal presence. He is with us. And so it is that we embrace the mystery, the paradox at the heart of the cross: that in Christ’s experience of being God-forsaken, we know we need never face suffering alone. If you are going through a period of darkness and it feels as if God has abandoned you, don’t let it drive you to despair. God is with you through divorce, he is with you through failure, he is with you through bereavement, through disappointment, through fear and guilt and shame. He is with you through the deepest despair and the most savage betrayal. Let me encourage you with the promises of Scripture: if God is letting you go through the valley and you are in a time of great testing where you feel separated from him, you can be absolutely certain that even this separation cannot ultimately frustrate God’s grand scheme and story.

Jesus promised: “Never will I leave you, nor forsake you” (Heb. 13:5). Therefore, one thing is without doubt. If you are feeling isolated, alone, and abandoned, there will come a time when God will reveal himself to you again. And when that happens, you will come out more mature in your faith and with a much stronger sense of who God is and how much he cares about you.

Lord, we know that you have suffered for us, you have suffered like us, and you suffer with us. And we know that your time of abandonment was our promise of your presence. And, as we thank you, we pray for an increasing awareness of you with us, Amen.