“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” The quintessential cry of despair, when all hope is lost. Jesus’ words echo the first verse of Psalm 22, which he would have known well. And indeed, nailed to a cross, midway through the dying process, would be a most natural time to utter those words. They represent the bottom of the well, when all is darkest.
We have all had times when it feels like God has forsaken us. Sometimes we have to sit at the bottom of that well for awhile. But for most of us, that is not our normal state, and eventually some glimmer of light appears and we struggle back to the surface.
Has God really forsaken us? Or are we giving voice to how we feel in those dark moments, when our sense of connection to anything beyond ourselves is blocked? We are like the man who goes into a dark cave and closes his eyes and then cries out for the sunlight. The sun has not forsaken us, but we have lost touch with its warmth.
As the modern poet Denise Levertov once wrote: “Not you, Lord, it is I who am absent.” It is in the nature of God to be present, even when we are not. Hold that thought and walk through the darkness. It is the only way out. The sun — and God — are waiting for you.