‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’ (Psalm 22:1, NIV)
Over the past few posts we’ve spent time journeying through the early chapters of Psalms. One consistent theme that we can draw out of these chapters is that the psalms are for real-life-people: people who encounter crises, set-backs, disappointments, health worries, pressures and a host of other situations that make up every-day life. Yet, at the same time, the psalms are for people who are looking to centre their lives on the God of the Bible. Does that describe you? If so read on …
Psalm 22 has taken on special importance because, in the darkest hours of Jesus’ agony and abandonment on the cross, he verbalised his pain in the words of Psalm 22:1 ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’ Every time we read these words, no matter how dark our situation, we can be assured that Jesus endured the ultimate abandonment and ultimate agony for you and me. As followers of Jesus you will never have to utter these words in the way Jesus uttered them, because once and for all he endured the abandonment of the cross so that we would never have to.Hallelujah!
However, these verses also show us something incredibly important about how to face those seasons of life when it seems as if we have been abandoned. Listen to the literal translation of verse 22: ‘My praise in the great assembly [is] from you’. Gerald Wilson, commenting on this verse, said:
‘This phrase is remarkable [and I would agree] because the psalmist realizes that even when Yahweh [God] is most distant and entirely absent from our experience, the ability to praise him is testimony to his enduring presence with those who fear him. The very ability to praise comes from God himself.’
Why is this so important? Often our feelings scream and shout that God is not with us. However, when we wrestle our minds and hearts to worship him, we find ample ability to praise. Why? Because the ability to praise comes from God himself. He empowers. He enables. He releases us to praise him. So today, wherever you find yourself, why don’t you take some time to praise God for who he is? Stir your heart. Remind yourself of his nature; his unchanging nature. Let these words tumble out of your heart into prayers of thanksgiving and gratitude!