Friday, April 24, 2009

Abandoned -- Not

It was Good Friday... The message in our evening service was based on the seven statements of Jesus during his crucifixion. One struck my heart like never before...
Then at three o’clock Jesus called out with a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” which means “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?” (Mark 15:34)
Abandoned. In everything he'd faced, he'd felt his Father's presence there with him. It was the most intimate relationship he had. An ongoing conversation and source of love, support, strength, even approval ("This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased."). Now it was gone. All of it. He was... for the first time in all eternity... alone... Abandoned. The physical pain he accepted. He commented he was thirsty, but we have no record of complaint regarding his pain. This emotional pain, however, was intense enough it provoked a response: a heart-wrenching cry of "why?" Christ, in that moment, experienced something he had never felt before: Separation from his Father.

And... in that moment... Christ experienced something I have never felt. Something I will never have to. Abandoned -- not. Even in those times when I may feel far from the God who loves me... even in those times I may feel alone... abandoned... I will never, ever, truly feel that deep black hole of total abandonment. I will never know what that truly feels like. Because of Jesus, God doesn't have to turn away from me. Because of Jesus, He can fix his gaze on me and never look away. Even before I chose Him, He was there, waiting. Even when I turn away from Him, He has his gaze fixed on me. He's there. Every second of every day. I can choose not to listen, I can choose not to look, but I will never experience abandonment. Never. Jesus did. It was the one thing which made him cry out. And if Christ, knowing what was coming, still cried out at the separation... how could I have ever faced it?

Eloi, Eloi, thank Eloi, I will never be abandoned....


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