June 12, 2016

Psalm 22:1 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?

This Psalm is somewhat painful to read, particularly when we know it was the one Jesus referenced from the cross, acknowledging that it described His situation. (Matthew 27:46) Actually, that’s all the more reason to read it, to understand what the Son of God went through for us. It’s also of great importance to realize that since Jesus went through this, we have no reason to feel picked on if our feelings are similar. Everyone has moments when they feel, from a strictly human perspective, like God has abandoned them. Like Jesus, and like David, who actually wrote these words, we need to be honest about our situation without abandoning faith. It’s not wrong to ask God why things are happening, but there’s no guarantee He’ll tell us immediately! Bad things are genuine tragedies only if we allow them to destroy our faith. Sometimes our faith rests on a false foundation, on things we have experienced instead of on who God is and what He has said. In such cases, sometimes God allows us to be shaken so that we will see our error and cling to Him alone, rather than to the things of this world. It is very hard for us to grasp that temporal things are truly that, temporary, because we are in the flow of time ourselves, and eternity is an abstract concept. God allows times when He seems distant precisely so that we will grow, in faith and commitment, and come through on the other side strengthened and purified. The Father was not “picking on” Jesus, even when He allowed Him to be scourged and nailed to a cross. Rather, He knew what would be the ultimate result of all that suffering, and that it would be worth it. What we endure isn’t as great, either in level of suffering or in the outcome, but we need to rest assured that God is going to turn it around for good, whatever it feels like at the moment. (Romans 8:28)

I don’t feel like I’ve been through particularly great suffering, but I’ve had plenty of moments that weren’t much fun at the time. In contrast, my wife has a medical history as long as your arm, and her attitude in the middle of all that has been a testimony to many. I keep remembering that Jesus spoke John 16:33 before He was crucified, stating that he had “overcome the world” even before He was resurrected. My victory, our victory, is not defined by what things look like at the moment. For various reasons I’m expecting very few people in the service this morning, but that doesn’t mean God isn’t going to manifest Himself in marvelous ways. My focus is to be on Him, and not on what my physical eyes can see. The theme for this morning’s message – Light and Darkness – is huge, so I have to be all the more careful to let the Holy Spirit control my words and my heart to keep me from saying anything He doesn’t intend for right now. I need to look forward to His results, and not try to make things happen on my own.

Father, thank You for Your continued faithfulness. There is a great deal going on, and there is the strong temptation to try to be in control. Help me indeed let go of everything, just as Jesus did when He came to earth as a human baby and even more when He went to the cross. (Philippians 2:6-8) May I trust You fully whatever my senses, my mind, or my body are telling me, so that I will not get in the way of whatever You want to do through me, for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!

About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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