You stood up for someone, but when you needed someone to stand up for you they disappeared Or you did what was right, but no one recognized you for it? Or you were the encourager, but when you needed encouragement no one was around for you? Or maybe even you obeyed God down to the very last detail, and yet it seemed God abandoned you when you needed Him most?
Jesus knows what every single one of these scenarios feel like! He stood up for the downtrodden, but they screamed, “Crucify Him!” He poured His life into teaching and encouraging His friends, but they all ran when the heat was on, leaving Jesus all by Himself. He obeyed God down to the very last detail, and yet it seemed like God abandoned Him when He needed Him most.
Have you ever felt abandoned by God?
Hanging from the Cross He cried out, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?!”
I cannot help but notice two things about the state of mind Jesus was in heading to the horrific treatment He would face (see Matthew 26:31-44; 27:27-46).
- Jesus knew all of this was going to happen to Him. Notice the phrases “for it is written” and “so that the Scriptures would be fulfilled” and “so that the writings of the prophets might be fulfilled.” Even His cry from the Cross was a literal quotation of Old Testament Scripture (Psalm 22:1).
- God was silent. Even though Jesus called out to His Father three times in prayer, “My Father!” there was no heavenly response.
Why would God remain silent during this trial? God didn’t need to speak to His Son during the trial because He had already spoken to Him before the trial!
It’s the same in our trials—
The Teacher prepares us for the test, but then is silent during the test.
God’s silence is not His rejection or abandonment. Just as God provided for Jesus in His moment of trial, God has provided for us in our trials too—For no temptation (no trial regarded as enticing to sin), [no matter how it comes or where it leads] has overtaken you and laid hold on you that is not common to man [that is, no temptation or trial has come to you that is beyond human resistance and that is not adjusted and adapted and belonging to human experience, and such as man can bear]. But God is faithful [to His Word and to His compassionate nature], and He [can be trusted] not to let you be tempted and tried and assayed beyond your ability and strength of resistance and power to endure, but with the temptation He will [always] also provide the way out (the means of escape to a landing place), that you may be capable and strong and powerful to bear up under it patiently. (1 Corinthians 10:13 AMP)
So let’s learn three invaluable lessons we can learn from Christ’s time of supreme suffering.
1. Be honest in God’s presence
Jesus didn’t hide His feelings, nor did He try to couch His vocabulary in “churchy” sounding words. God already knows what’s in your heart, so pour it out raw and honestly! Go to the Psalms and see raw emotions on full display in prayer.
2. Lean all your weight on Jesus
Jesus prayed, “My Father!” and He cried out from the Cross, “My God!” His death on the Cross took away the barriers that kept up from coming into God’s presence (see 2 Corinthians 5:21). After His resurrection, Jesus sent this message to His friends: “Go instead to my brothers and tell them, ‘I am ascending to MY Father and YOUR Father, to MY God and YOUR God’” (John 20:17).
3. Go to the Word of God
This is what Jesus did. In His moment of abandonment, He quoted Psalm 22 from the Cross. Jesus fulfilled ALL of the Scriptures, so now we can pray with greater assurance—For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ. And so through Him the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God (2 Corinthians 1:20).
God’s silence is NOT God’s abandonment. God’s silence is His invitation for us to be honest, to lean on Jesus, and to trust every promise in His Word. Every single promise that is Yes! and Amen!
If you’ve missed any of the other messages in our Where’s God? series, please check out:
And join me this Sunday as we take a look at how Jesus has conquered humanity’s ultimate enemy.