Father, Why Have You Forsaken Me?
“Eli, Lama Sabachthani?” It was 2:00am and the darkness of the night that surrounded me
reflected the pain in my heart. I began to kneel on the stairs that night and cry in agony with my fists clenched as though in the Garden of Gethsemane with Jesus. That night, Jesus brought me on the Way to Calvary with Him and I received if only but a glimpse of His suffering. I pulled out my Bible, and with tear soaked cheeks in the glare of the the moonlight I began to read.
“Father if you are willing take this cup from me, still, not my will but yours be done” (Lk 22: 42-43).
Jesus, I cried, take this away. I felt the pressure in my head. I was betrayed. Betrayed by the one I trusted. My best friend. My companion. How could this happen? He said to me, “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” declares the LORD. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways And My thoughts than your thoughts.” (Is. 55:8-9).
I was traded in. Traded in for pleasure and entertainment. My Jesus, is this how you felt on that night when your best friend Judas traded You in for only 30 silver coins? Is this how You feel when I reject You in my sin? When we trade You in daily for temporary pleasure?
“What are you willing to give me to betray him?,” said Judas. “And they weighed out thirty pieces of silver to him” (Mt 26: 15).
I asked Jesus: How did I not see this coming? How did I deserve this? Am I not enough? Day after day we spent time together and he did not say a word.
“Have you come out as against a robber with swords and clubs? Day after day I was with you in the temple area and you did not seize me” (Lk 22: 52-53).
“Barabbas, Barabbas!” they cried. “Not this Man, but Barabbas!” (Jn 18:40). How could they choose a robber over you Jesus? How could he choose fleeting pleasure over me?
And so we walked, Jesus and I, before the Sanhedrin, before Pilate, before Herod. We stood together in the Praetorium. I watched as he was spat on. Mocked. He stood beside me as I was criticized and questioned. The hurtful words were like darts. Each one felt in my heart. In His heart.
“The chief priests stood there accusing Him harshly” (Lk 23:11).
I asked Jesus why. Why did they say those things to You? You are as pure as a dove. Why did he say those things to me? I cried. The tears were like waterfalls. What should I repay my accuser for my agony? I asked Jesus. The revenge boiled in my heart.
“Herod questioned him at length but Jesus gave no answer” (Lk 23:9). I cried out. Is that all Jesus, will you not reply? Is that what you demand of me as well? Must I not say a word for all these accusations against me? “No, that is not all my beloved one,” replied Jesus. “I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who curse you” (Mt 5:44).
And so He led me to where Pilate had Him flogged. “Then Pilate took Jesus and had him whipped” (Jn 19:1). I saw Him. I saw as He was whipped and He yelled out in agony. He looked at me with loving, bleeding eyes, as He told me He had already suffered for my pain. He had already endured my agony. I saw Him crying and suffering for me, for the world, for our sins. For they weighed greatly on His shoulders.
“Then the soldiers twisted together a crown of thorns and put it on His head” (Jn 19).
He brought me to where he was crucified, the place of the skull. He cried out, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do” (Lk 23:34). He cried and turned to me, “Lisa, shall you not do the same? Forgive. I tell you, not just seven times, but 77” (Mt. 18:22). There my Saviour hung on the cross. I with Him. Naked. Humiliated.
Looking from the cross, there they were. His mother Mary and John. And there they were. The woman who cooked me meals during my darkest moments. My family and friends with comforting words. The long phone calls. Emails. The little laughs of my baby cousin. Angels. Sent to me by my God to strengthen me when I could not take one more step. And there He was, the Holy One, hanging on the cross beside me. He told me it was not weakness to ask for help but courage, just as Simon the Cyrene helped Him carry His cross (Mk. 15:21). It was all Him who consoled and held my heart. He said, “I am enough for you. I am your sun and your shield. I am your protector and by me you will be sustained.”
Finally, He showed me that it was not the end, but only the beginning. The garden of Eden was the end, but the garden of Gethsemane led to His resurrection. And there He was on that Easter morning, resurrected (Lk. 24). He overcame darkness, sin and pain. I was comforted by this truth, that He makes beauty out of ashes and I reveled in His glory.
This post was written during a time of betrayal. Maybe you have had a similar experience. Maybe you have heard the words terminal cancer. Divorce. Maybe you have lost a job or a baby and the pain is too much too bear. Maybe a loved one is suffering from depression or you yourself can’t find a way out. I tell you my friend, Jesus is making a way. After Calvary came the Resurrection and you will rise from the ashes. The flames will not consume you, but only make you stronger (Is. 43:2). Stay in faith and praise God while you wait. Ask Jesus to help you embrace the cross, for by it we are saved.