My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?

Now from the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land until the ninth hour. And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” that is, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” And some of the bystanders, hearing it, said, “This man is calling Elijah.” And one of them at once ran and took a sponge, filled it with sour wine, and put it on a reed and gave it to him to drink. But the others said, “Wait, let us see whether Elijah will come to save him.”

Has there ever been a more surreal death in all of history? Lean into this with me if you can. For hours, in the middle of the day, darkness reigned over the earth. The atmosphere was tenuous and people were certainly on edge. Then from the cross a scream penetrated the darkness. It was God's own son crying out with words of being forsaken. Oh my! Small wonder that some thought he was calling out for Elijah. Who would have ever thought the Messiah, the son of God, would feel forsaken and say such a thing.

This short statement so encourages me. Many times I have felt forsaken by God. When my first wife died at 43 my soul cried out with words too painful to say out loud. In hospital rooms and rehab facilities I have felt so alone and forsaken. To know that Jesus experienced like feelings of being forsaken gives me courage to hope again. To know that my Lord knows what it is like to feel forsaken gives me renewed energy to pray. The son of God could have kept silent but broke the silence so that we would know that he understands us at the deepest of levels of our pain and despair. Who is like this Messiah? Who is like Jesus?

My God. My God. Thank you for suffering the pain of feeling forsaken.

... this devotion is on the last words of Christ.

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