The Fourth Word – “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”
Forsaken is a strong word. It means “to be abandoned or deserted.” It is a terrible place to be. You might find it strange, but I take comfort in this fourth word from the cross. If Jesus felt forsaken by God then he knows EXACTLY what we feel like when life has up against the ropes and we begin to wonder where God is in the midst of our suffering and pain. Everyone, and I mean, everyone has felt forsaken by God at one point or another in their lives.
We Lutherans believe that Jesus was fully human as well as fully divine. If this is the case, then feeling forsaken is a part of what it means to be human. And since Jesus was fully human, feeling forsaken had to be a part of his experience. However, the good news is that Jesus moved beyond feeling forsaken and was able to place his life confidently in the hands of God.
Perhaps this can give us the courage to do the same. Perhaps this can help to ease our anxiety when life has kicked us in the teeth and we wonder how we’re going to get through the next hour, let alone the next day. We are, ultimately, in God’s strong and capable hands. Nothing, and I mean nothing, can ever separate us from God’s love, not even death. Therefore, friends in Christ, take heart. We may FEEL forsaken during troubled times, but are NOT forsaken in reality.
Man of Sorrows, Even you felt forsaken by God as you hung in agony on the cross. May we remember that no matter how difficult life may get, you will never forsake us, but have promised to walk with us through life’s darkest valleys. We ask this in your name. Amen.
Copyright ©2017 by David Eck