Trusting God, even when we cannot see God
From the cross, Jesus cried out, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”
Had he been forsaken? Had his heavenly Father truly abandoned the Son, in the hour of his agony and death?
Those tortured words, of course, quote Psalm 22:1, written by a Jewish poet, long before.
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.
Is that not, sometimes, our common, human experience? Life bears down hard upon us, until we can no longer see the light or feel the comforting, encouraging, cleansing presence of God.
Long ago, “in the land of Uz, there lived a man whose name was Job.” Job had everything: great wealth, handsome sons and beautiful daughters. And then, he suddenly lost it all, including his health.
As a pastor, people have asked me, “Why did God take my husband/wife/mother/father/son/daughter/loved one?” And there is no answer to the “Why?” question. Job asked, but God was silent. Job believed that if he could find God, and confront God with his questions, God (being entirely rational, in Job’s theology) would be obligated to explain himself. Well, God didn’t.
In the end, God did speak to Job. “Job,” God said (in essence), “were you there when I created the world and everything in it? Do you understand how I did that? No? Then who are you to ask such impertinent questions of the One who fashioned you from dust?”
So, there is the feeling of forsakenness, the feeling of abandonment, the feeling of being tossed out there in the universe and left to fend for yourself. I get it. I’m human, too. So was Jesus.
But the very next line in Psalm 22 is the poet’s affirmation of faith, in spite of his feelings.
Yet you are holy, enthroned on the praises of Israel.
In you our ancestors trusted; they trusted, and you delivered them.
To you they cried, and were saved;
in you they trusted, and were not put to shame.
Can we not take our key from the psalmist and trust God, even when we cannot see God?