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Seeking to equip people to live as Christian disciples wherever God has placed them.

Saturday, June 9, 2018

“Living in the Light”

Ps. 22:22-26

This is the concluding section of the psalm that Jesus quotes from the cross when he cries out, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Mark 16:34; Ps. 22:1).  This cry has been uttered countless times throughout history as people have had to struggle with pain, suffering and tragedy.  There can well be the impressions and feeling that God has forsaken us.  The writer of the Hebrews says that Jesus had to learn obedience through suffering.  If that was true in his case how much more is it true of us who are far less inclined to be obedient to God’s will than Jesus was?  Yet this is a lesson we would rather not have to learn.

The psalmist here makes clear that suffering and pain are not the ends of human life.  God does hear us even if he doesn’t always answer us in the way we want.  We are promised that nothing can ever separate us from the love of God in Jesus Christ (Rom. 8:38-39).  However we are never told that we will be free of pain and suffering in this life.

In spite of his agony the psalmist praises God.  Having felt abandoned initially the writer then affirms that God has not forgotten the “affliction of the afflicted.”  More than this the psalmist confesses that God did not withdraw from him.  Contrary to his initial impression God did in fact hear when he cried out.  Again, the psalmist does not offer any easy answers to present suffering.  He claims that the poor shall eat and be satisfied.  However we do not see that at present.

We have to remember that the present is not permanent.  God hears us now.  He cares for us now.  He gives us mercy and grace in time of need.  Yet we are reminded that Jesus himself prayed “with loud cries and tears” (Heb. 5:7).  We are never without God’s grace and mercy.  We are assured that one day pain and suffering and death will be no more (Rev. 21:1-4).

We may feel forsaken by God.  The truth however is that God never forsakes us (Ps. 46:1-3).

Eternal and loving God I praise you that in the distress of this life you continue not only to hear me but you also sustain me with the faith, hope and love that I have in Jesus Christ.  I pray in his name, amen.