At noon the whole country was covered with darkness, which lasted for three hours. At about three o’clock Jesus cried out with a loud shout, “Eli, Eli, lema, sabachthani?” which means, “My God, my God, why did you abandon me?”- Matthew 27:45-46 (TEV)
Max Lucado begins Chapter 19 (“Abandoned! God-Forsaken Places”) of Next Door Savior by stating that abandoned is such a haunting word. It’s a feeling all of us experienced in the immediate aftermath of our ministry downsizing or vocation loss. Yet, Max emphasizes, “nothing compares to being abandoned by God”.
After Jesus had been hanging on the cross for three hours, darkness fell “like a curtain”. Far away in Egypt, the historian Dionysius observed: “Either the God of nature is suffering , or the machine of the world is tumbling into ruin.” When Jesus screamed His words of abandonment, no one had to ask Him to speak up.
Peter reminds us that “Christ carried all our sins in his body (1 Peter 2:24).” If our past sins were made public, specifically our outbursts of anger toward those responsible for our vocation loss, we would scream for God to have mercy on us. Max notes that we’d feel a fraction of what Christ felt on the cross. Max concludes:
” ‘My God, my God, why did you abandon me?’ Why did Christ scream those words? So you’ll never have to.”
Today’s question (from the Study Guide): When you are fearful, what Scripture gives you strength? Please share.
Tomorrow’s blog: “A wail of a time”