“My God, my God, why have You forsaken Me?” (Matthew 27:46)
While our church in particular does not celebrate the season of Lent formally, it has a rich history in our Christian traditions. Among other things, Lent is a season of change; of seeing things a new way… of shedding old habits and establishing new ones. It’s not coincidental that behavioral therapists tell us it takes about 40 days for new patterns of thought to be firmly established, or for old ones to be stopped.
Lent—the forty days preceding Easter—is also a time for us to open ourselves to the possibility of seeing things about God and ourselves that we hadn’t seen before. When the disciples followed Jesus into Jerusalem, they were about to encounter realities that challenged and shook the very foundation of their faith.
Nowhere was that more apparent than in Jesus’ fourth statement from the cross… the cry from the darkness… God in the flesh crying out to God in Heaven, “My God, my God, why have You forsaken Me?”
How can God turn His face away… from God? How can Deity be torn apart? How can the TRI-UNITY… the Godhead three-in-one… be ripped to pieces? What kind of inexplicable God IS this that we serve?
Well, obviously, He is a God who is not simply understood with tired platitudes and bumper-sticker-deep theological statements. Clichés won’t cut it here. Calvary blows that possibility up.
God asks the questions that have haunted men and women from the earliest days: WHY? I don’t understand. I don’t get it. I can’t grasp this. This is not what I thought it would be like to follow You, God. I. Don’t. Understand.
No answer came thundering back from the cloudy darkness that enshrouded Golgotha that day. It hung in the air like a thick, dark curtain… those on the ground waiting perhaps for an answer from… somewhere.
But none came… until Sunday. Friday midday until the light dawned on Easter morning were days lived in the darkness… in the unanswered… in the mystery of the perfect will of God that is not always easy to grasp.
An answer came clearly Sunday morning. And resurrection light will dawn for our questions as well. Our “why’s” will not forever hang in the darkness of our experiences of suffering and pain and loss. As we make our way to the cross, we will see a God who understands…
…and Who will answer us.