There’s a fun little website called Despair that sells demotivational products, a spoof on those motivational posters you see in office buildings. There’s one titled “Loneliness” that has a picture of a solitary tree in a bleak white winter landscape. The caption reads, “If you find yourself struggling with loneliness, you’re not alone. And yet you are alone. So very alone.”
I’m glad I wasn’t there when Jesus was crucified. Whether I would have believed in Him or not, His cry to God is absolutely heart-wrenching. I can’t even make it through the scene in Saving Private Ryan where the dying soldier is blubbering for his mother. It breaks my heart. How much more so does Jesus’ cry pierce your soul, when He cries, “’Eli, Eli, lema sabachtani?’ that is, ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’” (Matthew 27:46). Jesus is crying out to His heavenly Father, asking why He has abandoned Him. Jesus quoted this directly from Psalm 22, which is the plainest prophecy of Jesus’ suffering and death in the entire Bible. Even in this poignant appeal, Jesus is quoting and fulfilling Scripture.
Have you ever been all alone? I’m not talking about that peaceful moment when the kids have all left for school and you have the house to yourself. I’m talking about a deep feeling of abandonment; a loneliness that aches. Perhaps you’ve experienced the death of a loved one, and in the days following, you felt keenly that loss, aching for the companionship again. Maybe you’ve experienced a tragedy you felt no one could understand; that there was no one who could sympathize with you. These feelings are very real, and not to be cheapened. Yet no matter how alone, how abandoned you may have felt, you have never been truly alone, for God has always been with you. God has never abandoned anyone on this earth. Well, come to think of it, He has. God the Father abandoned one Person completely, and that was His own Son, Jesus.