"My God, my God...why have you forsaken me" ~ Psalm 22
You may recognize those powerful, passionate-soaked words as the ones often read at Good Friday services...ones Jesus perhaps shouts...or whispers in the still, small silence of his soul from the cross. You might recognize these powerful, passionate-saturated words from your own life. Moments when everything is going to hell in hand basket...when life is turned upside down and inside out...nothing makes sense.
Forsaken-ness has been cried out and absorbed into countless doctor's offices.
Forsaken-ness has been cried out and absorbed into homes where words and even fists hurt and cause irreconcilable, unspeakable harm!
Forsaken-ness has been cried out and absorbed into city streets where more and more young men are shot...and into places where now police officers are targets.
Forsaken-ness has been cried out and absorbed into the walls of our very hearts when we struggle in the midnight of our souls.
That unanswerable question, "Why?"
We live in a world that has such a strong belief in order and reason. We live in a world that loves the quick fix and easy answer. We live in a world that craves someone to do something...even if it ends up making matters worse.
Forsaken-ness...like it's cousin brokenness...can linger and last long after the event....causing ripples and ramifications to touch every part of our life.
The psalmist in 22 continues to talk about feeling surrounded by bulls...with so much fear in her mouth that her touch sticks to the roof. How it feels like there are dogs all around, staring and glaring. The power of the metaphor is that it speaks truth. I know what it is like to feel tugged and pulled in so many different directions. I know what it feels like to sit in a space and my mouth as dry as the desert.
Yet, the psalmist refuses for this to be the only word...just like at communion we proclaim and celebrate that brokenness is NEVER the last word from God. The psalmist goes on to say that we sing out because that is also true. We trust that the poor will eat, we know that God is not one of forsaken-ness, but blessedness. That God will be the one who reminds gives us strength to put one foot in front of the other.
I don't know what it means that right before the most beloved Psalm...23...we get this heart and gut-wrenching prayer...but I know in my life the truth that I have to process my pain. I need to notice and name that which hurts me. I need to pray my heartache before I can praise. So, I give thanks for psalm 22. I give thanks for its honesty, even when it is too bright or too harsh. I give thanks that in a time of too much violence and hate-filled speech, I remember that life was not better back then. There has always been moments of feeling forsaken among God's people. There has always been the truth of, "God of our weary years...our silent tears...God who has brought us thus far on the way." So, today, I hone in and open my heart to the faithful presence of God who has led me to this day, this incredible, amazing day...God has made.
May God meet you in your forsaken-ness with a presence and promise that offers you hope and healing.