Psalm 22:1-2 “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”.
These most familiar words are taken from Psalm 22. They were written by King David and then painfully spoken by Jesus Christ dying on the Cross. Both were speaking in anguish at the apparent absence of God. David had many occasions to write this Psalm, his life was full of downturns equal in number to the many triumphs he had. David learnt to count his blessings and overcome his defeats. Jesus we know was devoted to God, then this one time in His life when He really needed God’s help for Himself He cried out those words. Jesus had enjoyed God’s favour and by the power of God had done good works, healing, restoring, providing, and yet when, for the first time He needed God’s powerful hand for Himself, God was nowhere to be found.
Many of us can say the same forsaken words, whether we said them many times or just once, once is enough. We may have built our lives as David and Jesus did in complete trust in God’s providence but then once or many times we implored God’s help and we did not receive.
Why not ? They were good people. You are good people, you’ve done a lot to help others, yet God seems to have said “No thanks” to all of us, but not really.
David and Jesus are both irreplaceable people in God’s plan. David brought the twelve tribes together and formed them into a nation as God’s Chosen People but not without a struggle. Jesus was God’s greatest emissary. If God had rescued Jesus from the Cross, it would have been a one minute-wonder, the miracle would have been forgotten in a generation or two, as would all of Jesus’ teachings and miracles. God had a bigger victory in mind than Jesus stepping down from the Cross and perhaps defeating Rome and the corruption in society. Those would have been great victories, yes, but the greatest victory ever is the victory over Death, which is God’s plan. The victory over Death could have been won no other way and will be remembered, celebrated and believed for ever.
Now let’s note this one important thing, neither David nor Jesus gave up their belief in God, they cried to God day and night, knowing that God was and is there, and that God has the power to help, because nothing is impossible with God. Our troubles sometimes blur our vision, so although God is there we have trouble seeing Him and therefore receiving blessings.
Then in the Psalm 22:4-5 speaking to God, Jesus says “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”.
Surely in faith we can say the same. We have received blessings before and we will again. God will heal, whatever troubles you today, or tomorrow. God knows who you are and what grieves or pains or worries you. God will provide respite and relief, and will bring you through your heartache. God is reaching out to you, continue to reach out to God, God’s providence is within reach.
We are entering the season of Christmas a time mostly filled with joy because of the Birth of Christ. No one wanted that little baby to grow up and meet a terrible early death, no one. No one is intended to suffer. But we do because there is Evil in this world. Now I think you would agree that God shouldn’t interfere all the time, every time we get a headache, no way, but it is by suffering that we learn. Agreed, we learn from good experiences too, but the most precious lessons are usually learnt the hard way, which is where we all are today. It’s easy to learn the joyful lessons, but for the tough stuff we need God. God is there always. God is everywhere always. Always has been, always will be.
We can’t understand why we or others suffer other than to accept that there is another malignant force present in our lives. A force that does not negate God but makes us feel that it owns the space between us and God. It doesn’t. It’s all a pretense. But it is one that even Jesus fell prey to once, for a moment.
When you have come through this difficult time you will again be able to say, along with David and Jesus; Psalm 22:24 “For God did not despise or abhor the affliction of the afflicted; he did not hide his face from me, but heard when I cried to him”.
There will come a day when you will say that too. God will not hide His face from you and will hear your prayers. Have faith in that and all will be well. Leave all your troubles in God’s hands. Do not worry, worry will not heal what ails you the way God will heal, worry will only make it worse. Trust in God. You have trusted Him before. His providence will be revealed to you in good time. Now is the time to take a time of holy waiting.
Today you need to trust, so I pray in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, beseeching our Lord Jesus Christ to drive out all evil that afflicts you in body, mind or spirit now, and to sustain you with his presence beseeching him to uphold you and fill you with his grace, that you may know the healing power of his love. Amen.