“My God, my God! Why have you forsaken me?”
So many that I love are standing in this moment that seems to stretch on into eternity. Unutterable pain. Devastating loss. A cold shoulder to lean on. God, who has created all things, worked amazing miracles and time after time, even gave life to the dead … now He’s standing there in that familiar shroud of mystery. He’s not explaining His seeming complacency in our pain. He’s not justifying His inaction. He’s beckoning us to come near for comfort, which we desperately need, but between us and Him is this chasm of need: We need to know why, God.
Why take the wronged and leave the wrong? Why leave children without their parents? Or parents without their children? Why add to the pain we’re already drowning in? Why are you watching us suffer? Why is Your will so painful and hard? Why this road, God?
I’ve treaded softly with these questions, into the throneroom of God. Not just for myself, but for all who are suffering unimaginable pain. I grew up believing it was a sin to question God. I know what the scriptures say: “But who are you, a human being, to talk back to God? Shall what is formed say to the one who formed it, ‘Why have you made me thus?’ (Romans 9:20). But I needed comfort. I’ve been immersed in the pain of my brothers and sisters, and I needed to know what to say to them. So I crawled to His feet and poured out the soul of humanity. “My God, my God! Why have you forsaken me?”
He did not chastise me. He lifted me up and held me to His bosom, wrapping his fatherly arms around my quaking shoulders and soothing me with whispers of love. He showed me this scripture where Jesus, my example, cried out the same thing. Hours before, he had begged the father to find another way. His spirit was willing, but his flesh was weak. He accepted the Father’s will, which led him through a dark and torturous valley, then onward to Calvary’s crest. He hung on a cross he couldn’t even carry because he was so broken by the beatings. He faced death without the numbing effect of the gall. He experienced such suffering, and in his hour of need he asked the same question.
Did Jesus live a life of complete submission and perfection – sinlessness – before the Father only to throw it all away on one question? No. This question was not a sin. It was innocent. It was sincere. It reached the heart of God and no doubt ripped the Father in two.
God’s shoulders are big enough for our sincere questions. He is able to handle them. He can take it. And He wants to. He wants us to draw near to Him. If we couldn’t ask the hard questions, we’d push him away in defiance and frustration. He wants us to press into Him. To need Him and allow Him to take our sufferings on Himself. Jesus going to the cross for us was the first time he took our sufferings, but it was never meant to be the last. Has He gone through so much to abandon us now?
This deep well of pain – this emotional upheaval – is more than you can bear but it is not more than the shoulders of God can carry. Take it to Him. Crawl up into His daddy-lap and rest your head on his chest while you grieve. Let Him comfort you. This imperfect world will overwhelm you sometimes. The arrows of the enemy will hit their mark oftener than we can handle. We are not equipped to do this life alone. Go to Him. Your daddy, God. Go to Him and be held. Ask Him, if you must, “My God, my God! Why have your forsaken me?” You will find, as you bury your face into His bosom, that He has not. He never will.
*If this blessed you or touched you, please share it. There’s so much pain in the world. and many who need to hear this.