Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Feeling Forsaken by God

In Mark 15:34, Jesus cries out, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" I will be preaching on this text on Sunday. I would like to hear your thoughts on the following questions:
1. Why does Jesus feel forsaken? Is he actually forsaken on the cross, or is this just how he feels?

2. What causes people to feel forsaken by God today? How should we respond?

James

4 comments:

Vasquez Adoption Experience said...

Great questions James. Sorry it's been a while since I've visited your blog, but I wanted to discuss this topic before looking at the others you have on here.

I believe Jesus, in every way, wanted to ensure when we come to him He will be able to understand where we're coming from. When we come to the Father, Jesus interceeds and tells Him, "I know where he/she is coming from, because I've been there myself."

On the cross, when he cries out "My God, my God. ." he is quoting what we know now as Old Testament Scripture and giving even more evidence to the people as to who He really is (not was, IS!).

As to the other question, there's a song by Petra that goes, "We have prayed to you for rain. We have come to ask you to renew the land again. How long, until Your name is lifted high? How long, before your fury lights the sky?"

It's natural for us to long for something more that only God can give us. Max Lucado writes that we are like aliens longing for home. However, nothing really compares to feeling forsaken. It's one thing to be considered an outcast at school, a loner at work or the quiet wall flower no one really gets to know, but when we feel as though God isn't listening (not simply being silent) we begin to feel our sanctuary has been violently upset.

Some say it's due to sin in our lives. Other say "Well, God has a plan." Even still some well meaning friends will try to encourage by saying, "We'll pray for you." At those moments we don't want to know anything other than why it feels like God has left us. Moments of prayer and time with friends pass and yet we're still left with that next feeling of being alone again and for a Christian, there is simply nothing like it.

It's agonizing. It makes one feel mentally and even moderately physically sick. It's at those times when it's hardest to let go and let God, even when we know it's exactly what we should do.

In some cases it can even paralyze Christians.

James said...

Marc,

I think that you hit on something key when you said that "at these moments we don't want to know anything other than why it feels like God has left us."

Too many times we try to give someone an intellectual answer to an emotional problem. When people are suffering, we need to let them cry out. On the cross, Jesus didn't quote Rom. 8:28--all things work towards good for those who love the Lord. Instead, he cried out, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me." And yes, because he experienced forsakenness, we know that he cares when we feel forsaken.

Vasquez Adoption Experience said...

Exactly! How refreshing to hear a man in your "field" give that answer!

I know many who walk around, especially in their church with their happy (mask) face on showering others with "goods" like:

How are you?
Good.
How are you?
Good.
And the kids?
Good.
How goes the job?
Good.

When what many really want to say is, "I feel like I don't know which way is up and I'm not getting anything from God that I can readily understand."

By the way James, Kim and I were at Barnes and Noble this evening and I looked over the whole store and didn't find you. I thought you said you were always there. :)

James said...

Mark,

Keep looking! They have reserved a table and couch for me a Barnes and Noble. Tonight, though, I had a band practice, and then I watched my Mavericks win game 1 of the NBA Finals. Good stuff.