My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, from the words of my groaning? O my God, I cry by day, but you do not answer, and by night, but I find no rest. Yet you are holy, enthroned on the praises of Israel.In you our fathers trusted; they trusted, and you delivered them. To you they cried and were rescued; in you they trusted and were not put to shame. Psalm 22:1-5
We live in a sensual generation in a sensual society. This is true not just for the hedonistic, “If it feels good, do it,” crowd. It is a logical result of a materialistic world and life view. If there is no God, no truth, only the material world we live in, we will certainly tend to be more strongly influenced our five senses and the tangible, material things that they can see, feel, hear, smell and taste. And following on this, we will be more strongly influenced by feelings and emotions than by abstract philosophical concepts like truth or justice or love or beauty. Feelings and emotions are not concrete, either , but they just happen to us without our conscious effort, and so in that sense they seem more real to the contemporary mind.
This, however, is not the Biblical world and life view. Scripture calls us to believe and act one way, even if we might feel something altogether different. This is because of the reality of sin in the world, and the fact that our feelings are corrupt and cannot be trusted. It is also true because God is working out a plan larger than our senses can perceive. We might feel miserable in the moment, forsaken and forgotten, even by God. And our circumstances might even justify such feelings. David penned these words a thousand years before Christ, but he was never, truly forsaken by the Lord. Jesus Christ uttered the words of Psalm 22 while he hung, dying, on the cross. And as He bore the weight of all the sins of His people, past, present and future, as He faced the wrath of God as punishment for those sins, as He experienced the separation, the alienation from God that was the result, He was forsaken and suffered the true agony of separation from God that is hell.
But Christ still took the larger view and calls us to do the same. Forsaken in the moment, He remembered God’s holiness, faithfulness, mercy and salvation. Alienation is the result of sin, and as Christ paid the price for sin, His fellowship with the Father was restored. We may feel separation from God, too, but that price has been paid and our reconciliation is accomplished. We need to look to God’s faithfulness in saving His people the past, rather than dwelling on our pain in the present. We need to look at God’s holiness and see that it caused Him to make an end of sin, rather than tolerate it. We can trust in God, as did the Old Testament saints, and they were delivered. We can cry out to Him, and we will be rescued. Pain and suffering and sorrow are real, but so is the salvation that comes from God in Christ Jesus.