There are two interpretations of what Jesus said while he was on the cross that I often hear. One is “Lord, forgive them for they know not what they’ve done.” The other is “Lord, why oh why have you forsaken me?” Now, I think we can all agree that those are two very different reactions to being crucified, and in times of trouble (though it may not be crucifixion-level struggle) we tend the take the latter response.
The other day I found myself struggling quite a bit. And while I’m not going to go into detail, I will say that there was a moment when I was on my knees talking to God, and, in a way, I understood Jesus. If I were a perfect person who reacted to things in a perfect way, I would have looked up at God and said, “Alright, I get it. This thing I’m going through is rough, but I’m going to turn to you for strength to pull me through.” But I am most definitely not a perfect person, and in that moment I was left looking for something or someone to blame and wondering ‘why?’
Why am I going through this?
Why do I feel like this?
Why does this feel so hard?
And more specifically, why are you putting me through this?
I felt forsaken, as I’m sure most of us have at one point or another. Even those who are strongest in their faith have probably thought this same thing, and I think it’s a healthy way to grow. The problem isn’t the thought itself, but what you do with the thought after it’s crossed your mind.
Once I had cleared my head enough to process what was going through it, I was able to think about what it meant to feel forsaken. Forsaken means “abandoned or forgotten” and I don’t know about you, but no matter how forsaken I may feel, I know that’s never the case. Whether it’s spiritual or not, I know I’m never alone. I know I have people I can turn to, I just may not always want to turn to them.
But there’s a reason these people are in my life.
There’s a reason I have faith in something bigger than myself.
It’s so I never feel truly forsaken.
It’s so when I’m on my knees in times of complete despair, I can look for forgiveness within myself and within others.
It’s so I can fill myself with a grace so strong, I’m never alone.
And I don’t believe Jesus was forsaken on the cross. So if I can believe that, I can have faith that I’m never forsaken either.