"At the sixth hour darkness came over the whole land until the ninth hour. And at that ninth hour Jesus cried out in a loud voice, … 'My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?'" Mark 15: 33-34
When Jesus was hanging on the cross for my sins and yours, he uttered some of the most gut-wrenching words in history. "My God, why have you forsaken me?"
Betrayal by friends, public humiliation, injustice, and pain caused him not to whisper meekly but to cry out loudly to the One who until now had been his constant companion and protector.
While comparing our struggles to Jesus' seems almost sacrilege, there are some parallels. Most of us have uttered similar frustrations to God during the dark days of financial strain, divorce, illness, loneliness, single parenting, betrayal, and pain. These troubles seem trivial next to Jesus' pain, but the despair is just as real. And these emotions matter to our all-knowing, ever-loving God. Unfortunately, we often allow our problems to obscure God's attempts to be our comfort and companion. When that happens, we often accuse him of abandoning us.
My own struggles have been no exception. Years ago I suffered a bout with mild depression. I would burst into tears for no apparent reason. As a believer in Christ, I knew I had the ultimate hope of eternal life in heaven — but somehow that didn't quench my hollowness and despair. I felt so distraught and alone all I could muster was a feeble, "God, where are you? Please help."
That's why I need Easter. It's an annual reminder that the only time God ever left anyone alone — his Son on the cross — was so that none of us would ever be alone again. Jesus paved the way for us to have a close, constant relationship with our Maker — which we all desperately need, whether we know it or not. Those of us who believe in Jesus are never alone no matter what. Praise God!
I wish Jesus wouldn't have had to go through the excruciating pain of carrying my sins and feeling abandoned by God. But the truth is, I needed him to.
And I wish I could remember God is always with me — even when I don't feel him with me or when the pain of this world obscures his presence. But in reality I need constant reminders that he's always offering his presence, comfort, guidance, and hope to me — to all of us.
This Easter may we all rejoice in our risen Savior — and in the God who never, ever leaves us.