"Why have you forsaken me?"

Artist: Edvard Munch Source: WikiPaintings Is all this really necessary? This cross? This consequence borne by Christ?

“My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?”

Things are not that bad. Are they?

We can only grasp a fraction Of the immense weight Crashing down upon Jesus That day.

The unimaginable burden Of not only our individual misdeeds Or our personal omissions, But the iniquities And atrocities Of generation upon generation upon generation. The entirety of wickedness Since evil invaded the world.

The sin of human history Creating a distance beyond our understanding.

“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”

Christ is forsaken. Dropped in the chasm Of overflowing corpses. The bodies of those who have been massacred. The hundreds murdered every day. Every day. For years stacked upon decades stacked upon centuries.

Christ is forsaken. Adrift in the gulf Of echoing wails. The cries of those sexually assaulted. Every two minutes. Over And over And over again. Shrieking in their violation and pain.

Christ is forsaken. Standing in the abyss Between oppressor and oppressed. Taking the beatings of the millions, Millions, Who have been And are And will be Imprisoned, exploited, and enslaved.

Christ is forsaken. Experiencing the void Of lost generations. Entire people groups wiped out When neighbor turns against neighbor When former friends slaughter one another As nations collapse into genocide.

It’s too much. It’s all too much.

Too much for us to hold. Too vast for us to grasp.

This is the great burden borne by Christ. Taking iniquities beyond imagination Upon the only shoulders broad enough to carry them And loving enough to be crushed by their weight.

From the chasm of evil, For the sake of humanity, Jesus cries out, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”

This is another reflection I wrote for my church's Good Friday service. In honor of this day of waiting, as we sit in the waiting space before the resurrection, it feels appropriate to continue pondering Christ's death. I hope it helps you do that today.

hidden reality

Hidden reality As we drive through Indiana at night, red lights dot the landscape around us. It is strange. They are everywhere, and in seemingly well-spaced rows. I wonder what they could be.

An airport? Cell phone towers? An alien landing?

I would keep wondering, except that the answer suddenly pops into my head. Not because I can see what is behind the red lights, but because I remember driving this passage during the day.

Windmills. Gigantic windmills, which, during the day, are impossible to miss. They are white monstrosities dotting the landscape of otherwise serene farm fields. It is hard to believe that at night I can see nothing but the flashing red lights, warning airplanes of their existence.

I think we are often blind to things going on around us.

There is a neat little story in 2 Kings 6. Elisha the prophet has been warning the king of Israel of the king of Aram’s plans to fight him. Outraged, the king of Aram sends his army to Dothan, where Elisha is staying, and surrounds the city.

When the servant of the man of God got up and went out early the next morning, an army with horses and chariots had surrounded the city. “Oh no, my lord! What shall we do?” the servant asked.

“Don’t be afraid,” the prophet answered. “Those who are with us are more than those who are with them.”

And Elisha prayed, “Open his eyes, LORD, so that he may see.” Then the LORD opened the servant’s eyes, and he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.

As the enemy came down toward him, Elisha prayed to the LORD, “Strike this army with blindness.” So he struck them with blindness, as Elisha had asked. – 2 Kings 6:15-18

In our culture, we are consistently pushed to trust in only what we can see and touch. But the Bible says that there is not only a material world, but a spiritual one. It tells us that there are forces at work all around us: forces of good and forces of evil. And pretending the spiritual world does not exist is as ridiculous as ignoring a field full of windmills.

Thankfully, God understands human weaknesses. He knows that though our reason is meant to support our faith, it sometimes works against it. So, just like the red lights placed on the windmills, He provides us with signs that there is more to this world than meets the eye.

There are signs of good forces at work. Prayers get answered. Miraculous healings occur. People are victorious over the sins that once ruled their lives. Generosity is witnessed even in difficult economic times.

There are also signs of the dark forces at work. The prevalence of depression. The brokenness of families. The destructive choices that have become social norms.

As we think about the good and evil forces all around us, we need not loose hope. Just like Elisha, we can remember that the One who is for us is stronger than what is against us.

If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? … No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. -Romans 8:31-32, 37-39