David. Isaiah. Job. Jeremiah. Jesus. I could add more but you may want me to quit listing and start writing. What that short list (which could easily be expanded) is in reference to, is people who were broken before -or broken by- God. People whos hearts were broken either by their own sin or the sin of others, and in some cases, both. One of my favorite parts of the Gospel narrative is Matthew 27:46 where Jesus cries out, "And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?” that is, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?”" Here we see Jesus, God of all the universe, come to earth as a perfect and sinless man-broken and abandoned by God, through no fault of His own. This is the epitomy of despair, when He who is God is forsaken by His Father. That is a brokeness our finite minds cannot fathom.
His words here echo the words of the Psalmist in Psalm 22:1-2, "My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me? Why are You so far from helping Me, and from the words of My groaning? O My God, I cry in the daytime, but You do not hear; And in the night season, and am not silent." I have grown to love the Psalms because of the raw emotion displayed in them. To be quite frank, when I was reading them as merely a source of information, they really grew quite dull. But when I began to understand that they were indeed written to convey not merely head truth, but heart truth, then I began to cherish them and love them.
So what is the author conveying here? Does he really feel abandoned by God? Surely this is hyporbole, he cannot possibly be serious, can he? Certainly he knows that God will never leave him nor forsake him. Indeed, in verses three and four of this very passage he declares God's faithfullness to his fathers, how could he really feel forsaken?
To often I believe these are the questions we get stuck on. We sit and look through the eyes of our comfortable 21st century American Chrisianity and try to figure out what the heck this Bible means. We come at it packing an agenda and a mindset. And we are willing to believe and accept what it says, just so long as it doesn't contradict those things. We want to live in our safe, protected, and ultimately, pretend world. We live in a culture that simultaneously worships and hates reality. We want to tune in to our favorite "reality" tv show while sitting in our comfortable climate controlled living room but have no desire to hear about, let alone help the millions of orphans in our country and accross the world. And this is the attitude we take towards Scripture. We don't want to acknowledge that even in following God, there will be heartache. There will be times when we don't feel a passionate love for God. There will even be times when we feel deserted and abandoned by Him. In these times, how do we react? Do we try to tune out and pretend like everything is okay? Or do we fall on our faces in worship of the one we cannot see and in the moment cannot feel? Do we beg the Almighty for a glimpse of Him? Do we echo the Psalmist in in Psalm 42 crying out for the Lord with same passion as one who is dying of thirst calls out for a drink? Do you long for communion with your Maker or are you satisfied with life as usual? Are you okay with the way things are or do you wish to be broken before Him?