Never in my life has I been moved to tears by scripture until now.
Maybe it is because my life seems to be crumbling around me, and maybe it is because I am finally beginning to see the depth of what Christ’s sacrifice means.
I have always thought that the twelve disciples (at that point, eleven) were idiots for being afraid when Jesus was killed. He had told them many times before that he was going to die and then three days later rise again. How hard can it be to remember that?
I have been so inebriated with the gospel story and have succumbed to the mentality of hindsight that I never even realized that the feeling of fear, disbelief, and abandonment that the disciples experienced is so painfully me.
I am cowering because I have forgotten to remember to look at the past. I am so fixated on the future and the present that I cannot cope.
I cry out “my God, my God, why have you forsaken me” and stop there. I do not continue because I have trained myself to cry and move on, to not dwell on my pain and to leave it be. I say I can deal with it another day.
I cry in anguish and do not say “yet you are holy,” I forget that you “have not despised and abhorred the affliction of the afflicted,” that “kingship belongs to the Lord,”
“that he has done it.”
The pain and fear I have felt when I sat for years ignoring the doubts I had of the power of the crucifixion have been washed away because everything fell into place on a wretched day.
For the first time in my life, I truly prayed scripture. For the first time in my life, I prayed my doubts. For the first time in my life emotions and feelings came to me unbeckoned as I read from the psalms because the Holy Spirit to crashed into me with a force unparalleled.
On the cross, Jesus cried out to God and for years I wondered how He could abandon His own son. How could He look away when we are so horrendous and yet sent His son to die for us and loves us fiercely?
Because He was coming. God was not blind, He did not close His eyes. God was coming and Jesus knew. He fixed his eyes on the past where God over and over again delivered his people.
God has not abandoned us. He does not. He will not.
I am like the disciples in so many ways. I once thought they were so ignorantly foolish because I was. They were in pain and forgot to open their eyes. In my pain and doubt, I kept my eyes shut and fixed upon my circumstances because I said “now is not the time to think, it is the time to feel.” There is no time when either ought to be separated because one without the other causes blinders to cover our vision.
God does not abandon the afflicted because in a world with so much pain, injustice, suffering, and cruelty, we need him. Our enemies will taunt us, they will ask us, “where is your God now?” and say, “He will not save you this time.”
When every voice around you is screaming at you to abandon hope, to say that you are finished, rebel against them. Look back and see that He has saved you, saved them, saved us, before, and wait.
A glorious redemption is coming because a glorious resurrection already did.
“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?
Yet you are holy,
enthroned on the praises of Israel.
For he has not despised or abhorred
the affliction of the afflicted,
and he has not hidden his face from him,
but has heard, when he cried to him.
For kingship belongs to the Lord,
and he rules over the nations.
All the prosperous of the earth eat and worship;
before him shall bow all who go down to the dust,
even the one who could not keep himself alive.
Posterity shall serve him;
it shall be told of the Lord to the coming generation;
they shall come and proclaim his righteousness to a people yet unborn,
that he has done it.”