Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” that is, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”Matthew 27:46There are some sufferings that are just impossible to stand up under. Some losses go beyond grief and into despair. I have felt very few of these, but when they came, I could barely breathe, let alone preach the gospel to others watching. But God was faithful to draw me to Himself in it and show Himself to be so real as I clung to His promises.
Today, I find myself drawn to others who suffer, many suffering in far worse way than I'll ever know. I pray for them as they grieve, or endure hard seasons, and while they are dying. I pray that they will know our God of Comfort deeper because they are experiencing it. I pray that He will be real and near to them in it. I pray that He'll strengthen them in His strength to endure and to trust in Him through their suffering and enjoy the rewards in heaven later through it.
Some people blow me away with how God uses them to comfort others when they are the ones suffering! But I want to encourage those of you reading this that not everyone says great spiritual truths when suffering. Please don't mistake this for lack of faith. Sometimes it may turn selfish, but often grief floods out sin and hurt that is already in our hearts. In the gospels, Jesus lovingly poured out Himself on His own as they grieved, even when they seemed to lack faith in Him (John 11). We should do the same.
I have been judged in my own grief. And it hurt. Yet so many people have been a great comfort as they prayed for me and shared gentle truth from their own experience living out His Word in suffering to encourage me in it. When we judge, we miss a great opportunity to weep with those who weep (Romans 12:15) and be God's physical comfort (2 Corinthians 7:6) to our hurting brothers and sisters. Please consider praying for them or even with them instead (2 Corinthians 1:11).
The Questions: Jesus is our example of how to cry out in despair and yet cling solidly to God (Matthew 27:46). He cried out asking "why" and yet He calls God MY God. God is very much still His God. In His agony, He still prayed and His prayer is still deeply personal to His God. Interestingly, that prayer is a quote of Psalm 22. So even in crying out, Jesus is quoting God's Word and trusting His promises (that Psalm also says "For he has not despised or abhorred the affliction of the afflicted, and he has not hidden his face from him, but has heard, when he cried to him.")
I shared some good resources we can turn to in the midst of grief/suffering in my last post. When we grieve, it's ok to cry out and ask questions! But let's seek Him now in His Word and memorize it, so when in our pain we cry out, it will be to our God and trusting in His Word as truth, just as Jesus did.