“And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46)
These are the words Jesus spoke while He was hanging on the cross. In that moment, He felt God had abandoned Him, leaving Him to die an excruciating death as the nails in His hands and in His feet ripped through His flesh.
Jesus wanted to know why God had left Him alone to die this horrible death. He must have felt in that moment that God had abandoned Him.
Of course, we know that God did not leave Him. God was right there, where He had always been, monitoring the whole situation.
You see, this was all in God’s perfect plan. God’s plan of salvation included Jesus being crucified for our sins. And Jesus knew this before He came to earth, embodied in sinful flesh. He knew He would be mocked, scorned, rejected, and ultimately murdered.
But Jesus willingly chose this kind of death because He knew that His momentary suffering would lead to eternal salvation for those who believed on Him, and repented of their sins. Jesus died for our sins so that we might live.
I too have had times when I felt God had abandoned me. I felt like God had left me all alone to suffer in silence. I felt like no one cared about what I was going through.
This is often the case when we find ourselves going through various tests and trials. We like our family and friends, and God, have all forsaken us.
Job too felt abandoned by God while he was suffering through the loss of his children and the loss of all of his possessions. There were a few friends who stayed there to “comfort” Job, but I don’t know how much help they really were to him.
No one seemed to be able to offer a legitimate explanation to Job as to why he was going through the things he was going through. But when you think about it, is there really a legitimate explanation as to the suffering we sometimes have to endure? We never seem to be able to make sense of it all.
But what I do know is that those people who are able to withstand those brief moments of pain and suffering, making it through to the other side, are often, although battered and scarred, stronger, wiser, and more empathetic to the sufferings of others.
When you’ve been through it yourself you know how it feels and are often able to offer support and encouragement to others.
Jesus too knows what it’s like to suffer, to feel pain, and to feel abandoned. “For we do not have a High Priest who is unable to sympathize and understand our weaknesses and temptations, but One who has been tempted [knowing exactly how it feels to be human] in every respect as we are, yet without [committing any] sin” (Hebrews 4:15 AMP).
Jesus knows. He understands everything we go through. And He’s sympathetic to us. He’s not an insensitive God who doesn’t care how much we suffer. But He also knows that suffering is a part of life in a fallen world.
From the beginning it was not so. We were not created to suffer or feel pain. We were created to experience God’s joy and peace, and to live forever. We were not created to experience sickness and death. We were created to be healthy and whole, only experiencing the goodness of God.
But even now there is hope. Jesus came to offer us hope in a fallen world. It’s up to us to grab a hold to the hope He offers us and to never let go.
When we experience pain and suffering we should remember that it’s only temporary. Soon and very soon God will wipe all tears from our eyes.
And we will be given an incorruptible body that is no longer able to grow weak, feel pain, endure sickness, or experience death. In our new glorified bodies we will live forever!
So please know that it is perfectly normal to feel like God has abandoned you. Jesus felt it too. But the Scripture tells us that God will NEVER leave us or forsake us. He’s ALWAYS right there with us, even though we may not be able to feel His presence near. God is always there.
He’s there with you now as you read this. He wants you to know how much He loves you. How much He cares. He wants you to put your confidence in Him. He will never leave your side. Therefore, you can rest soundly tonight knowing that your Heavenly Father will never forsake you. He loves you too much! Be encouraged.