Have you ever gone through a time in your life when you weren’t feeling particularly spiritual? When it took work to pray. When it was too painful to cast light into the shadowy corners of your heart?
I know I have certainly found myself there — the feeling of being forsaken.
I’ve doubted God and I’ve wrestled with Him when I didn’t like His plan for me. I’ve become angry when my prayers were answered but in the way I didn’t desire. I have wondered where He was; if He was. I’ve been incredibly prodigal. But fortunate enough for me, God has never stopped coming to look for me.
It brings me comfort to know that even our Savior had human feelings. The art of Roman crucifixion was an evil genius – it was the perfect tool to bring about the most inhumane of human sufferings. Tendons torn. Body aching. Eventually, you had to arch your back to find balance. This created ever enlarging wounds in the feet. This continued on until the body’s lungs would fill with fluid. The heart became compressed.
As his heart compresses and his body aches, Jesus cries out in wonder, “My God, My God, why hast thou forsaken Me?” This verse we often overlook in worship services, it is often left out of passion plays – because we don’t like the thought of our Savior hurting. We don’t like to consider the pain our sins caused Him nor do we like to ponder why our Savior, so very sure of His Father, could even consider the possibility He’d been forsaken.
But really, these words were brilliant. They connected us. These words were necessary. This was the moment our brokenness reached deep within His spirit. They bound us to our Father like the tiny hand of a newborn curls around his mother’s finger. Jesus became sin so that we could be free from it. In becoming our sin He had an incredibly human experience — multiplied by the lives of every being the Father had ever created. He echoed the very heart-wrenching words our heart cries out silently when life gives us lemons, when we have shaken off every reasoning and can find no reason, when we simply don’t understand, when we are tempted to consider our Father has forsaken us, leaving us to suffer alone.
“My God, My God, why hast thou forsaken Me?” These words assure us of every struggle, every valley, every circumstance being vindicated, corrected and justified on the cross. These are the words of our own heart – these words wrapped within His.
I find it poetic that our sins were compromised because his heart compressed. What more proof could a nerdy girl need than that of the Author and the Finisher of her faith metaphorically and figuratively giving her His heart?
We can be sure that God had to turn His head when Jesus suffered. But because He turned His head, He could look upon our suffering and hold us through it. Never budging, completely enthralled with the purchase He had bought at the highest cost imaginable.
At about three o’clock, Jesus called out with a loud voice, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” which means “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?” (Matthew 27:46)
Copyright © Brooke Keith 2014, used with permission.