Inspired by Psalm 22
“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from helping me, from the words of my groaning? O my God, I cry by day, but you do not answer; and by night, but find no rest.” Psalm 22:1-2 (NRSV)
It’s not uncommon for people under duress to resort to scripture for their prayers; sometimes we’re just too emotional or distraught to verbalize what we need, so we use the words of others who have come before us, who have already said what we need to say now. This is what Jesus did when he was in agony on the cross; he quoted a verse from a psalm, since he knew the Hebrew scriptures very well.
But the verse he quoted was only the beginning of the psalm. The psalm, though it begins on a note of anguish, continues through hope to end with praise, thanksgiving, and joy. Verse 24 proclaims, “For he did not despise or abhor the affliction of the afflicted; he did not hide his face from me, but heard when I cried to him.” The final three verses declare, “To him, indeed shall all who sleep in the earth bow down; before him shall bow all who go down to the dust, and I shall live for him. Posterity will serve him; future generations will be told about the Lord, and proclaim his deliverance to a people yet unborn, saying that he has done it.”
Though Jesus was experiencing anguish and abandonment on the cross, the psalm he clung to also tells of God’s deliverance of the one who cried out. It proclaims that God has dominion over all on the earth and under the earth, and that even death cannot stop God’s deliverance.
God is active in every part of our lives, and even when it feels like God is far away, know that he is still active, working for your deliverance. He has not forsaken you, but has redeemed you as his own.
Let us pray. God of hope, you will never abandon your people. Make yourself known to us in our darkest hours, that we may feel the comforting embrace of your eternal love. Through Christ our Lord, Amen.