One of Seven

Eli, Eli, lamma sabacthani? My God, My God, why have you forsaken me? Matt 27:46

What a week it’s been.

  
I’m writing this on Tuesday night with a heavy heart after the terrorist attacks in Brussels today.

There’s a somber tone to the world. One of despair. One of hurt. One of fear.

  
And I can’t seem to shake the fact that this tragedy occurred right as we’re about to enter the Easter Triduum — Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and Easter Sunday. — The pinnacle of our faith. Paradoxcally the most sorrowful, and yet most joyful occasions.

But today, there is a palpable sadness, blanketed over the global community. Which reminded me of the darkness that covered the earth at noon on Good Friday, as Jesus was hanging on the cross, right before He died.

Good Friday. The day when He hung on the tree.

  
While He was upon the cross, Jesus said seven specific things. Granted, everything that Jesus said during His lifetime was important, but for obvious reasons, the things He said while hanging upon the cross are especially important. To the point where people make a study out of just those seven exchanges: with God, with the thief on the cross, with John, with Mary, with the soldier. They all have profound importance.

Eli, Eli, lamma sabacthani? My God, My God, why have you forsaken me? Matt 27:46

  
 This phrase, preserved in the Aramaic language, pierces my heart, for it reveals a glimpse into Jesus’ mind. Clearly, Jesus is in agony, but His words were chosen carefully.

And “forsaken” is a strong word. It means to be abandoned.

Jesus felt abandoned.

The world had literally fallen dark. God’s son was hanging – dying – on the cross. Bearing the weight of the sins of the entire world. And where. was. God?

I don’t know about you, but I’ve uttered that prayer once or twice before.

Where was God?

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How many times have we felt abandoned? When we get bullied at school. When we lose our job. Are rejected by our dream school. Suffering through loss. Battling an addiction. Facing an overwhelming amount of work. In the aftermath of a tragedy,  like Brussels?

Where was God?

  

My God, My God, why have you abandoned me?

In a way that I’m not super proud to admit, the fact that Jesus also experienced this feeling of abandonment, offers a strange sense of comfort. Somehow reassuring. Because He felt it too.

Jesus, God’s only son, felt that God had turned His back on Him in His greatest time of need. In the height of His suffering.

And the thing about the whole situation is that, during the time when Jesus was feeling abandoned, he was precisely in the center of God’s will. Jesus was fulfilling His purpose — God’s divine plan — on earth, and He felt forsaken.

You see, I don’t think that was a coincidence.

Jesus is the ultimate role model. He is our teacher. Our guide. Our example. And even He experienced that distance, even as He was fulfilling God’s will.

  

It was one of only seven things Jesus uttered on the cross, so it’s a big frickin’ deal.

And here’s why I think that is: “Not my will, but yours be done.”

  

  

If we rewind the scene a couple of days to the Agony in the Garden, Jesus was absolutely wrecked with anxiety and despair, knowing the fate that was to befall Him. He was so distraught He was sweating blood. But during His prayer, He kept asking the Father, “Let this cup pass from me.” He asked it more than once, pleading with the Father, Why? Please don’t make me endure this. Isn’t there any other way?! 

But at the end of His prayer, He said, “Not my will, but yours be done.” 

He had complete trust in the Father.

Trust — that even when Jesus felt alone, felt abandoned, felt as though God didn’t care — he did what needed to be done. His trust and His faith never wavered. Even when the worst was happening, and He literally couldn’t see God, because the world was shrouded in darkness — He trusted.

   
Given the events of what happened in Brussels today, I think a lot of people are saying, “Where was God?” “Why have you abandoned us, God?”

We can’t seem Him. We can’t feel Him.

But we have to trust that we are in the center of His will. And that is so hard.

We have to trust that even though we’re hurting, even though we feel alone, even though we have no more light to follow, our faith will endure the trial. Because God has never abandoned us.

And sometimes, we have to go through the darkness and the despair in order to fully receive the blessing – the miracle – on the other side.

  
That was Jesus. Despite His feeling abandoned. Despite the fact that He was dead for two days. Despite the suffering and agony He endured during the Passion, He was exhaulted. 

He rose from the grave. He fulfilled God’s will and saved humanity.

  
Today, we find ourselves in the shroud of darkness.

But, like Jesus, we must hold strong to our faith, to our trust, to our hope, in what the Father has to come for us.

  

***Quick update*** BBB is now on Facebook! Let’s be friends! 🙂 

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174 thoughts on “One of Seven

  1. Those words Jesus cried at the height of his suffering are so powerful. I love this post because you can really feel how pain and suffering can be endured and things can and will get better. Thank you so much for this xxxx

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  2. One aspect I struggle with in my Jacob time these past years is: how does God the Son call out to God the Father “why have you forsaken me?” when They are One?

    On a different vein, if you haven’t heard Don Buck Creacy’s “It’s Friday. But Sunday’s Coming” I think you’d enjoy it
    Happy Easter

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  3. This was so beautifully written! I loved the connection and relevance of our own humanity in all its sorrow to Jesus’ own worlds of doubt while hanging on that cross. If we, as a society and individuals can just hold on to faith, we too will make it through the darkest of times. Loved it!

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  4. Wow, what an awesome message. I was talking to my son about the the Lauren Daigle song “trust in you”. And how we are to trust in God even when he doesn’t move the mountain or part the waters. I appreciate you honesty.

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  5. I enjoy your blog. You are a very good writer. You made some good points here. I just wanted to give some food for thought on a couple of things. It is true that at times we feel that God has forsaken us. He never has and never will according to His word, but sometimes we feel that way. The old saying, when we feel distant from God, we are the one who has moved, is true. But Jesus didn’t just “feel” that God had forsaken Him. In His case it was true. God had turned away from Him. He had to because Jesus didn’t just take our sins away, He became our sin. IICor 5:21. That’s hard for us to wrap our minds around!!! God could not look upon Jesus while He was our sin. So, it was much more that a feeling for Jesus. To think that He did that for us so that God could look on us and see Jesus and never have to forsake us. It is awesome beyond our comprehension!!

    He was indeed carrying out God’s will. When we are also walking in God’s will, we can be confident that what we are doing is for the best. But God’s will is not automatic. We cannot assume that everything that is happening in our lives is God’s will. This world is full of sin and sometimes we fall into it ourselves. We are not always living in God’s will. It’s a moment by moment decision.

    The thing with all of the terror that is striking around the world and people asking where God is….well, He’s right where we have put Him. As a world, we have cast Him aside with just a nod here and there as we go about “our” business. Sometimes there is no acknowledgement of God at all in some peoples lives, but then they want to know where He is. It is obvious from you blog that you give God more than a nod. I’m not saying you, I’m saying the world in general wants nothing to do with God. He has been pushed aside until something bad happens and then they want to know where He is.

    One last thing to ponder (I know this has turned long). Jesus’ death and resurrection is sooo important for us as believers. It happened on Passover, though, not Easter. We have bought in to so many traditions without even thinking much about it. Matthew 12:40 says that Jesus would be buried in the earth for three days and three nights. That cannot possibly be true if He died on Friday and rose on Sunday morning. You can read more about Easter on my blog at streetsandalleys.blogspot.com look for the Easter entry.

    Thanks again for your blog.

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    • Hi Renee, thank you for this reflection. You bring up some really interesting points. Lots to ponder today on the joyous resurrection day. You’re right-when we feel distant from God, it is we who are distant, not God. He never moves. Thanks for stopping by. Hugs!

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  6. I have no wonder that Christ felt forsaken–perhaps if he was to feel all the same afflictions of a man that was his final thought. Yet then there was no answer just as today when you or anyone else asks the same question. If Jesus was imbued to his very core with that spirit given of God to him, what response could his father have made?

    I often question what man, post deliverance of that new spirit to men who wish it, want God to do about the affairs of men? God has done all he can do, he has connected us to him again in an even better way than we were before the death of that original spirit of man. God has, through The Christs death given us all the power of Christ. So why should or how could God intercede more in the affairs of man? It is man who has forsaken God now and for near 2 millennia, except for rare individuals who actually followed the instruction manual and asked God, himself to teach them.

    But then what do I know, other than only through the power of that spirit within me have i lived through so much when I should have died, had every need filled long before I knew it to be a need.

    God will not ever intervene in the affairs of men. he did what was promised and then turned it all over to us. As usual and as all of history shows we still refuse to eat from the tree of life and choose to always and ever to eat from the tree of knowledge of good and evil. Our world is as we make it to be. God has little to do with it other than to wait.

    Peace

    OH you can blame Lone Gray Squirrel for this–sending me here.
    .

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    • Hi friend, thank you for this response. It’s hard to truly wrap my mind around the incredible sacrifice he made on the cross. You fought up a lot of things to mull over and reflect on this Easter afternoon. Thanks for stopping by! Hugs and love xox

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      • http://themanwhowalksalonewalksfaster.blogspot.com/

        I suggest all peoples of faith ponder two different ways–read the texts that all people consider sacred, Gita’s, Buddha, Qu’ran, Bible (especially the epistles) etc. then lay them aside.

        Ponder the meaning of Faith and ask that spirit which created all mass and matter to teach you their meanings. The books are too similar to be discounted as having divisive intent. Yet at the same time they all have been lost in their original forms–ergo the need to learn from within because of the way far far too many use those words. I read in the bible that

        “God himself will teach you line upon line and brick upon brick, line upon line brick upon brick, line upon line brick upon brick.”

        In the Bhagavad Gita 2:2 Krishna was teaching Aruja (a man)

        Siddhartha Buddha on his death bed told the thousands surrounding it to “Find your own path” (Granted it is a different philosophy and the meaning would take a strong understanding that he was telling them to enter with the Dharma (universal soul)

        In my intemperate and oft time foolish youth, I took, especially the first quote quite literally and found that in simple terms God the creator of all is simply waiting for each individual to “pick up the phone.”

        Be Well and always look to wisdom as your fortune.

        mark aka TWM

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      • Thank you so much for this reflection. There’s a lot of truth in that last line: pick up the phone. I love that. I think God years for us to yearn for Him:) thanks for the thought provoking response! Hugs and love!

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  7. Pingback: I Need To Share This With You! | Her Encouraging Heart

  8. You’re celebrating the wrong day! LOL! Leave it up to me to spoil everything. Expressed as ‘Nissan’, it is always the first full moon in April followed by the day. Eg: Nissan 14… All the same though! And happy bunnies! 😉

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    • Hi there Spartacus. Thank you for taking the time to read my post! I’ve never heard of “Nissan.” I follow the Christian calendar and observe holy days according to the church. But thank you for sharing about this other calendar. I always enjoy hearing different perspectives! Hope you have a wonderful week! Hugs and love xox

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      • Hello BBB. It’s not a calender, it’s a moon, and Newtonian clockwork doesn’t lie. However, I don’t think Christ is all that concerned with what day we acknowledge His supreme sacrifice, just so long as we do. And thank you for the gracious comment! You always respond with such beauty beyond bones! Your friend always: D

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      • Thanks D! How interesting. Thank you for sharing this! A supreme sacrifice is right! If always blows me away to reflect on the gift He gave us on the cross. What an amazing thing. Goodnight friend xoxo

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      • Nissan is a month in the Jewish calendar — the calendar that Christ also used, and actually also the calendar that Easter is based on. Passover is celebrated on the 15th of Nissan. (Note: Jewish calendar days begin at sunset, so that’s where Spartacus gets the 14th of Nissan from; the Passover celebration starts at sundown after the 14th of Nissan and then carries on into daylight on the 15th. We’re used to calendar days starting at midnight.)

        The Christian holiday that broadly parallels Passover is Maundy Thursday — the Last Supper was actually a seder meal. (Note, however, that Passover is not always on the same day of the week, as it has a fixed date on the Jewish calendar.) Easter’s timing isn’t directly tied to the Jewish calendar anymore, but it tends to be close. The main difference is that the Christian calendars, for convenience, schedule Easter on the first Sunday after the first full moon after the vernal equinox. This is similar to the way Passover is calculated, but can result in the holidays being as much as a month and a half apart. Also, for extra fun, Eastern Rite Christians still use the Julian calendar for calculations and a different definition of “full moon” with no relation to the astronomical reality, means Easter can fall as late as May for them.

        Time reckoning is way more complicated than it seems, and of course through the centuries people have found ways to make it even more complicated. 😉

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  9. Just now able to read your words to God’s Glory. Peace be with you. Thank you for sharing your encouragement. It is SUCH a gift. I want to let you know that you make a difference each day. I look forward to your blogs.

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  10. Pingback: Stop and Smile At A Stranger | Samuel Goldman Media House

  11. Hi!

    Just chanced upon your blog and so glad I read this post. As you said, it’s such an important reminder that sometimes, when we feel the loneliest in the world… That’s exactly when God is strongest – I believe part of it is where we fix our gaze. Sometimes, it’s also not about feeling that He is there but knowing deep down that He is because his word says so and at the end of the day, that’s where truth is. I am also reminded of the footprints poem (I’m sure you’ve read it). Hope to connect soon – I didn’t see any contact information but please do check out my site (www.writepsalmlove.com) and lets chat if you get a chance to e mail. Would love to hear your story!

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  12. Pingback: Stop and Smile At A Stranger | sgmediahousehippyblog

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