If we will admit it, sometime during life, we will feel abandoned by a loved one. What I am saying to you that most people feel abandonment during their lifetime, and there are certain normal feelings that go with feeling abandoned or deserted. Those feelings are often sadness, disappointment, anger, and even rage. These feelings are all normal and human. These feelings are not necessarily rational or intelligent. Such feelings are often directed at the person who abandoned you. Sometime during life, we all feel abandoned by God. This happens in life, especially when tragedies happen to you personally. Let me give you some examples.
From the Old Testament, King David wrote the famous words in Psalm 22: “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” Words from King David. His words continue: “why are you so far from saving me Lord? Why are you so far from my groaning? Why do I cry out to you, but you do not answer?” King David had these feelings in his heart that God had forsaken him, abandoned him, and deserted him. Why? Because of the personal tragedies of his life. King David felt this way because King Saul was trying to kill him, his enemies were trying to kill him and his oldest son was trying to kill him. David was feeling down in the dumps and he wrote: “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”
Take a look at JOB in the Old Testament. JOB experienced many personal tragedies. He lost his farms, lost the animals, lost his children, lost his wife. JOB lost everything. He also felt that God had abandoned him, deserted him, and he was angry with God and even raged at God. Those feelings were all normal.
King David and JOB felt that God had deserted them.
Knowing that people experience feelings that they are abandoned by their loved ones and that they are abandoned by God, it is with these feelings that we approach My Thoughts for today.
The setting was Golgotha, the place of execution right outside the walls of Jerusalem. It was Friday, the day after Passover. The text tells us that Jesus on the cross for three hours, from twelve noon to three o’clock. The sky turned dark and black, the darkest day of human history, and so did Jesus’ heart. It was three o’clock on that Friday afternoon and Jesus was coming closer to his death. The Bible tells us that Jesus cried out with a shrieking shout. His voice wasn’t quiet and soft like the first three words. You could barely hear him pray, “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.” Jesus spoke gently to the thief on the cross,” Today you will be with me in paradise”. Jesus spoke in subdued tones to his mother and his best friend beneath the cross. Then, Jesus shouted to the heavens at the top of his lungs, in almost a scream, “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me, why have you deserted me, why have you forsaken me?”
What can we learn from Jesus’ cry to God? The first thing we learn is this: it is okay to have feelings and vent those feelings of abandonment, as Jesus did on the cross. To feel the pain and sadness of being abandoned by God is normal. That is the way God made us, to feel such feelings and to vent such feelings. It is okay to feel depressed and abandoned by God. King David certainly did, when people wanted to kill him. He wrote those classic words in Psalm 22:1, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? King David was a devout believer in God and clung to God and was loyal to God, but he also felt depressed and abandoned by God and he vented his feelings to God. If it was normal and acceptable for God’s King David to feel his feelings and to vent his feelings, and he was the best king in the whole Old Testament, it is certainly normal and acceptable for you and me to feel the same way.
JOB certainly did. JOB who is known for his suffering. JOB suffered more than any other person in the Old Testament, and he, too, felt abandoned by God, deserted by God, forsaken by God, and he shouted his laments and anger towards God. That was part of humanness, to feel that way, and it is part of our humanness to feel that way as well. It is OK to feel like JOB.
Jesus certainly did. Jesus was the very Son of God, the heart and mind of God in the flesh, and in the moment of the deepest darkness of the land and the deepest darkness of his heart, Jesus felt that God had abandoned him and he shouted his feelings to the heavens. This reveals that Jesus was fully human, and when we have those similar feelings and vent those feelings that reveal that we are fully human as well. It is okay to feel like Jesus.
So when you have such feelings that God has abandoned you, and you vent those feelings, remember that you are in the good company of King David, JOB, and Jesus the Son of God. When you personally lose a loved one due to death, divorce or just going through bad times and you feel sadness, anger disappointment and down in the dumps about your situation and you cry out to God with your feelings, remember that this is okay. King David did it. JOB did it. Jesus, the Son of God, did it.
We learn from Jesus’ word that even in the worst situations of life, we are to cling to God with both hands as Jesus did. With pain and abuse with darkness all around him and within him, Jesus still clung to God with both hands. In the midst of this horrific situation Jesus clung to God with all his might during the darkest hour of his life.
It is easy to believe in God when life smiles on you, but it is much more difficult to believe in God when life frowns on you. It is easy to believe in God when the path is smooth and easy; but it is much more difficult to believe in God when the path is rocky.
Sometimes, life can be incredibly hard. In the worst and darkest day of human history, Jesus still clung to God with both hands and held onto God, we to should cling to God in our darkest days.
We should do what Jesus did in that darkest hour: Jesus clung to God with both hands, crying out to the heavens, shouting his despair, “My God, My God, both hands grabbing God, where are you? Why aren’t you here to protect us?” So while being nailed on two timbers, you find Jesus clinging to God with all his power, with both hands, and at the same time, shouting his inner feelings up to God. We should with both hands and shout our inner feelings to God in the highest. By hiding our feeling within we only hurt ourselves, God already knows what’s in your heart. You can only come to understanding when you are honest with yourself. You can only go down the path after you start the journey.
We learn from Jesus’ word on the cross is that these are not his last words. The drama does not end with his depression and emotional exhaustion. “Why have you forsaken me?” These are not his last words, not his final words, not the end of the story.
King David wrote the 22nd psalm, “My God my God, why have you forsaken me.” But he also wrote, the 23rd psalm, “The Lord is my shepherd I shall not want.” The 22nd psalm was not his last word.
JOB complained to God when he lost all his possessions, his family, everything. He railed against God in his anger, but those were not his last words. He also wrote at the end of his book, “I know that my redeemer lives.” JOB’s feelings of abandonment were not his last words. So also with Jesus. “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?” These were not his last words. His last words were “It is accomplished. It is finished. It is done.” He said, “Into your hands I commit my spirit.”
One of my friends has experienced untold heartache in their life. I can only pray that their eyes will finally have life and happiness in them again. I want nothing more in life than to see their eyes smiling again after all that they has been through. I pray that one day they come to terms with their inner feelings and find that in the years thinking God had abandoned them, that He was always there. He didn’t get abandoned them because of their feelings, He understands, He knows, He loves. I pray for my friend and to all of us to come to grips with our feelings, be not afraid of asking why, be not afraid of wondering or questioning God’s plan. He can only heal when we admit the pain, He can only make right when we are honest with ourselves and ask what is wrong.
God’s healing always triumphs over tragedy. God can and will heal you of every disaster that befalls you. It may not be in the time frame we want, may not be the winning lottery ticket we prayed for, but it will triumph.