Psalm 22:1. My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?
Why are you so far from saving me, from the words of my groaning?
The fear of abandonment is never far from our minds is it? Rejection is an emotional dread that is far greater than any tangible fear that we face. And so we spend much of our lives trying to prevent rejection. As children we cry when our parents leave us alone. As teenagers we do everything we can to be popular and not lose our friends. And as adults there is no end to the rejections we face. Whether we are not pursued by others in the first place, or if isolation comes through conflict – secrets, break-ups, divorce, distance, and of course death. Each experience adds to our fear of abandonment. Even in the healthiest of relationships there can be that underlying anxiety – “what will I do if they ever leave me?”
We don’t know the specific situation that the psalmist is facing in Psalm 22, but clearly it is a terrifying attack by human enemies (v.12-18). Yet his suffering at the hands of man is the least of his worries. His despair comes in feeling that God himself has left him all alone. And worse, that God won’t answer his cries.
Psalm 22:2. O my God, I cry by day, but you do not answer,
and by night, but I find no rest.
If God’s presence is our greatest joy and pleasure (see yesterday’s reading), then God’s absence must be our greatest distress and pain. This is why, even as Christians, we fear losing God and his love. We talk far too often about being “distant from God,” or how we are trying to “stay close to God.” Which of us hasn’t asked the question, “Where is God?” Or, “Why doesn’t God answer me?” How much religious energy is spent in an attempt to keep God near? We confess, commit, practice spiritual disciplines, and bounce from worship experience to worship experience hoping to avoid the feeling of abandonment by God.
But let me tell you the greatest truth of your union with Christ – Jesus was forsaken by God so that you would never, ever be. This is why he prayed Psalm 22 from the cross:
Matthew 27:46. 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?”
Christian, our fear of abandonment is real. Why? Because our sinful condition is real. God’s holiness demands our perfection. Our matching holiness. But which of us has matched God’s perfections? And so God’s holiness demands our godforsakeness.
But Jesus has nailed to the cross for all time both our natural condition and our natural fear. Our separation from God and our fear of separation from God. The good news of union with Christ is that Jesus took our abandonment, rejection, and godforsakenness upon himself. He became our sin (2 Cor. 5:21). He became our curse (Gal. 3:13). He was separated from the Father and sent into the pit of death and darkness. But then, on that Easter Sunday, he was raised again to glorious life and light. His prayer was heard. His sacrifice was accepted. His life was restored.
And now, because Christ has joined you in your separation from God, you are now joined in his union with God. Separation. Rejection. Abandonment. Godforsakenness. All quite impossible in Christ. He will never be forsaken again, and neither will we.
Why did God forsake Jesus? For you. For me. So that God would never have to forsake us. So that he could bring us into his family as his precious adopted sons and daughters. So that we would never have to fear rejection ever again. The fear of abandonment by God, and the need to control your own closeness to God have been buried in the grave.
“To live is Christ” means there is nothing in this life that can separate you from God and his love. No more fear of abandonment. No more need to control you own closeness to God. Both have been buried in the grave and replaced with the abundant life of living in the eternal, indwelling presence of God and his love.
Do you ever feel forsaken by God?
You in Christ
How would you process your sin and suffering differently if you really believed you’re never abandoned by God?
Christ in you
How can you approach God boldly today in Christ?
Playlist: My God, My God.
Click Here to listen to this playlist on Spotify!
To see today’s post from the TLIC Family blog –> Click Here