What could be more devastating than to believe God has abandoned you? The first line of Psalm 22 says “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Psalm 22:1 NIV). A disciple of Jesus Christ recorded that Jesus yelled these exact words shortly before he died (Matthew 27:46). And several other verses in Psalm 22 appear to also point to Jesus’ crucifixion:
verse 7 “all who see me mock me; they hurl insults”
verse 16 “they pierce my hands and my feet”
verse 18 “they divide my clothes among them and cast lots for my garment”
I could never boast that I’ve felt so low, so destitute as Jesus did, though I’ve had some desperately sorrowful times. It helps me to know he understands my pain. But remarkably, the psalmist plants praise right in the middle of this heart-rending chapter.
“I will declare your name to my people; in the assembly I will praise you. You who fear the Lord, praise him!” (verses 22-23).
“For he has not despised or scorned the suffering of the afflicted one; he has not hidden his face from him, but has listened to his cry for help” (verse 24).
It’s amazing, but the psalmist is declaring we are not abandoned, not forsaken, not alone, when we’re suffering. He doesn’t hide from us. He hears. He’s near.
by Kathy Sheldon Davis