My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?
Why are you so far from saving me, so far from the words of my groaning? Â Â Psalm 22:1 (NIV)
Psalm 22 could be the outline for Jesus’ path through Calvary. I hope you will take time to read it this week. While some might focus entirely on the outline, I am comforted once again that Jesus has not asked me to walk any path that He has not already walked Himself.
God can seem very far away. When things get really tough, God can seem very far away. I have cried and cried in desperation, believing God to be either deaf or disinterested in what I am going through. I don’t know if this is true for you but many times the reason God seems far away is that my focus is totally on me. I am looking inward and seeing only my pain and my answers for the situation (that aren’t happening) and so of course everything and everyone else is far away! When I’ve cried myself out and begin to listen, it is then that some answers, options, peace, assurance, all that God has wanted to pour out through His Spirit to mine, come to me. And, yes, like a good parent, God wants me to grow up and mature in my faith. But Father God is also loving and so He does not want me fearful. â€œListen, Jody.â€
Even though I am only a â€œwormâ€, God has proven His faithfulness. The psalmist says in verse 6 that even though he is scorned and despised by others and feels like a worm, not human, that he is counting on God to rescue and deliver him since God â€œdelightsâ€ in him. I was watching a TV show the other night in which a dad moved his daughter into her dorm room at college. Both dad and daughter were struggling with their separation. Just as he was about to walk out the door, she asked, â€œDad, I know it isn’t necessary but will you do it one more time for old times?â€ Dad looked puzzled for a moment and then got a little smile. He walked over, bent down and looked under her bed. â€œNo. No monsters,â€ he said. They hugged and he left. My Father God has taken down some monsters in my life. I know that if God tells me I am in the palm of His hand that hurricane winds may blow and floods may come but my LORD will never allow me to be taken from His hand. He will be with me whether I must go though rebuilding or whether this is my time to die.
And I will praise my LORD. Now sometimes my praise has begun in faith. I don’t always feel like praising God. But if I start in faith, it doesn’t take long to â€œget itâ€ that I have much to praise and thank Him for! The psalmist, beginning in verse 22 (after our lectionary text!), states that he will praise because he knows that God has not despised or scorned him. The psalmist shows the way of Godly prayers: despair to victory. My friends if you remember nothing else from this devotion today, hear me clearly when I share with you: never, NEVER stop praying until you reach that place of peace, assurance, and have let go of the burden that you are carrying. That may take more than a 5 minute prayer. And, for me, that is Satan’s biggest weapon, as he tries to distract me or tell me I don’t have time to spend just praying. Think about how you feel when you started the prayer and how you would feel if you walked out of your prayer time without that weight. Would it be worth 30 minutes of your day? Yes, it is worth it to me, too! It may also mean that I have taken a step of faith and made a conscious choice to leave it with God. I tell you that if we leave our burdens with God, He will take care of them.
I’m Trading My Sorrows written and sung by Darrell Evans