Psalm 22: 1-2 NRSV
1 My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?
Why are you so far from helping me, from the words of my groaning?
2 O my God, I cry by day, but you do not answer;
and by night, but find no rest.
The words of Psalm 22 are among the most plaintive in the Bible. They touch a deep chord within us. Have you ever felt abandoned or left alone? There is no greater sense of desolation than feeling we have been abandoned by God. The very idea that God does not answer our cries and desperate pleas is a terrifying sentiment. I think all of us have known such times. The person who wrote this Psalm was not speculating, but experienced the painfulness of feeling forsaken by everyone around him or her, including God. This was truly a dark night of the soul. This is the deepest form of loneliness we can encounter, wondering if, in fact, God will return to us.
I’m glad this Psalm is in our Bible. It cannot be addressed with a glib or simplistic promise of God’s helpful response that is so near to arriving it is just around the corner. No, this is a Psalm for the darkest days (which is why we read it on Good Friday). This is a Psalm of pure lament. Jesus will pray this Psalm from the cross. There are tough moments in our own lives when we would offer up to God a prayer like this. We need to let it simply be our expression of experiencing our separation from God. We need God to hear our mournful cry for help and then wait, knowing we have offered the most honest prayer to God. We pray and then we leave the ball in God’s court. It takes faith to pray these words and faith to wait for God’s response. May our faith here find it’s fulfillment in how God returns to us.
Prayer: God, in the darkest hours of our lives we come to you. We open our hearts before you. We are thankful you know our most difficult and lonely moments and you have lived those in Jesus Christ. Speak to us and comfort us in our hurting places. Return to us quickly, we pray. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Pastor Dave Summers