On the cross Jesus cried out ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’
Jesus, the Son of God, had been rejected, tortured, insulted, humiliated and left to die. In the midst of excruciating suffering and approaching death, Jesus quoted Psalm 22. This is a psalm of suffering. An expression of loneliness. A pleading to God for help.
My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?
Why are you so far from saving me,
so far from my cries of anguish?
My God, I cry out by day, but you do not answer,
by night, but I find no rest.
However, it is also a psalm of hope. The psalmist is turning to God for answers in his time of need. It is a psalm which expects God to come. It expects God to act in times of suffering.
I will declare your name to my people;
in the assembly I will praise you.
You who fear the Lord, praise him!
For he has not despised or scorned
the suffering of the afflicted one;
he has not hidden his face from him
but has listened to his cry for help.
On the cross Jesus revealed more than the depth of his suffering. He revealed more than his agony. Jesus revealed his trust in God his Father. He experienced the mystery of how God uses suffering to accomplish good. The cross is the revelation of the holy love of God dealing with the sin and evil of the world, and it is utter agony. But it brought life, healing and hope. We see this in the resurrection when Jesus conquered death itself.
Suffering is a problem we all face. It takes many forms. Rejection. Loneliness. Illness. Grief. Loss. Humiliation. Jesus shared in our suffering and invites us to bring our suffering to God and ask ‘why?’ Why are we suffering? Why is God not removing our suffering? Why does God appear far away?
We can ask ‘why’ because we know that our loving God is present in our suffering. He has suffered, he understands our suffering; he is never far away. We can expect God to act. But the deep mystery is the God can, and will, transform even our worst sufferings into good. His action may not be what we expect, it may be much more.
Written by Paul King.