Finding Joy With Context

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While on the cross Christ cried out “My God, My God, why hast thou forsaken me?” and we often think of that as such a desperate and sorrowful thing, that He was left by his own father who did not answer the cry of his son.  There are some that isolate that phrase and use it to say just that, that God left him there to cry and groan. They will tell you that we can see this as The Will of God as it pertains to some modern day situations. However, earlier in scripture, the psalmist wrote those words as a statement of “God? Where are you?” with a follow up of joy as he tells us that God is faithful and comes, he answers the cries of His children.

In the later part of that portion of psalm 22 (verses 3-5) he says “YET you are holy, enthroned on praises of Israel. In you our fathers trusted; they trusted, and you delivered them.  To you they cried and were rescued; in you they trusted and they were not put to shame.” He identifies his feelings of being alone, but reminds himself, and us, that God answered them before, and He will answer again!!!!

In the darkest hours of my life I have been tempted to question God’s presence, and how easily I could utter that query of where was He, and why He had forsaken me. If you take that isolated groaning of the phrase, as Christ laid on the cross you could even feel a sense of validation for your questioning.  Surely if Christ Himself felt forsaken then I can too.  However, as we bring it into view against the original context in Psalm 22 we see that the uttering of that phrase was Christ encouraging His people, even in His final moments.  That those who were there would hear that phrase and be able to hear in their mind the rest of that psalm. They could hear and perhaps even sing the part that says “You delivered them, they cried to you and were rescued”

I do not believe Christ was giving up, or doubting God’s hand in that moment, and I do not believe that God had forsaken Him at all.  I believe that Christ was saying, even in the darkest hour, we can have a hope that God answers the cries of his people, and that His presence will be with us even to the very end.

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