In Part 1, I opened up this topic of people feeling abandoned. And that can happen to anyone after the death of a loved one. And the I also introduced the topic of feeling abandoned by God. It was Kind David who wrote the words from Psalm 22, My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? and also Job in the OT who lost so much.
But did you know that the Bible tells us over and over again that God doesn’t forget or abandon? God hears the cries of all the children. God is particularly sensitive to the cries of those who are abandoned by everybody else: those abandoned in God’s name, those abandoned for whatever reason. You and me when nothing seems to be working, when life’s meaning and passion and purpose have dissolved, when we feel oppressed by our jobs or lack of them, by overwhelming responsibilities or by no responsibilities, by friends, spouses, companions and lovers who disappoint us.
God doesn’t forget. God shows up in whatever wilderness we find ourselves. God comes to bring water for our thirst and love for our deepest need. God does not abandon or forget.
So, when you have such feelings that God has abandoned you, and you vent those feelings, remember that you are in the good company of King David, Job, and Jesus the Son of God. When you personally lose a loved one due to death or divorce or them moving away and you feel sadness, disappointment and down in the dumps about your situation and you cry out to God with your feelings, remember that this is OK. King David did it. Job did it. Jesus, the Son of God, did it.
Cling to God—With Both Hands
When we lose a father or mother, or brother or sister, or child or grandchild, or experience any tragedy in our personal lives, we often feel a silent abandonment by God. It is OK to feel that way. David did. Job did. Jesus did. We often do. Sometimes, life can be incredibly hard. In the worst and darkest day of human history, Jesus still clung to God with both hands and held onto God.
We are to cling to God in our darkest days. And what are the darkest days of human history, when the sky was blackest? Was it when 200 million people were killed by Hitler, Stalin and Mao during World War II? Was that the darkest time of human history? Or the when 137 million people were killed by the Black Plagues in the sixth,14th and 17th centuries? Or the 100 million people in southern Africa infected with the AIDS virus by the year 2005? Or the 25-30 million people killed in the United States in 1918 by a flu epidemic after World War I?
Or when six million Jews were exterminated in gas chambers during World War II? Or what the worst day of human history? When there was more than 4,500 deaths in one day in the Battle of Antietam, during the American Civil War? Was it September 11 when 3,000 civilians were killed in one hour? Was it the day that the Son of God was executed?
In all of those horrific tragedies, we are invited to do what Jesus did in that darkest hour: Jesus clung to God with both hands, crying out to the heavens, shouting his despair, My God, my God—both hands grabbing God—where are you? Why aren’t you here to protect us? So on God’s Friday, you find Jesus clinging to God with all his power, with both hands, and at the same time, shouting his inner feelings up to God.
We are invited to do the same—cling to God with both hands and shout our inner feelings to God in the highest. I like the quotation:
I believe in the sun when it is not shining.
I believe in the stars when I cannot see them.
And I believe in God when I cannot hear him.
Those words were inscribed in a ghetto in Poland during World War II.