February 25, 2018
Last Words: My God, my God, Why Have You Forsaken Me?
“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” This is one of the most stunning, challenging, and difficult things Jesus has ever said. It shakes us to our core. What was happening in the heavenly realms that would cause Jesus to cry out such a prayer of dereliction? What happened in the relationship between the Son of God and God the Father at the cross?
Many a believer has felt the weight of these words. They have experienced the dark night of the soul that has gone on for years. They have offered up countless prayers to heaven, only to receive a deafening silence in return. This is the unbearable silence, the response we receive to our most desperate prayers. We, too, cry along with Jesus, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”
This is the first line of Psalm 22, and in a way, Jesus was saying that everything that happens in Psalm 22 is happening at the cross. There are some dark things in Psalm 22, but it is a prayer that God has graciously given to the Church. One of the worst things that we can do in our dereliction, in our godforsakenness, is to stop praying. Even if our prayer is the prayer of David in Psalm 22, do not stop praying.
But we must also pray all of Psalm 22. Being forsaken is not the end of the story – there is also vindication. There is resurrection! There is, in a word, hope. God can redeem even our godforsakenness, and turn our unbearable silence into the most powerful word in our vocabulary.