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?” – Matthew 27:46
Some of my earliest memories are of waiting. Three years old, waiting in the front yard for friends of the family to arrive. About the same age, sitting on the counter top at the club where my dad tended bar, waiting on him to get done. My whole life has been spent waiting on something or someone.
Tonight, while waiting on someone, I became frustrated, even agitated. We’ve all been there. We have to be at a function at a designated time, and we have plenty of time to get there, but one in our party decides that they will piddle around (there’s an antiquated term). By the time everyone loads into the car, the function has already begun. Shamefully, I was steamed.
Upon reflection, I realize that one of the reasons I hate waiting is that I equate it with abandonment. Perhaps that is simply a personal observation. Still, for those who have waited, and waited, and waited on someone, the feeling is akin to abandonment. Similarly, those who have waited on the Lord, may have interpreted God’s silence as abandonment.
If one reads the Psalms, it is easy to see such feelings of abandonment in times of hiding during David’s youth and again during times of isolation in his old age. One cannot begin to fathom the loneliness and abandonment that Christ must have felt at the end of His ministry, especially on the cross. The truth is, while you and I may have deserted God many times, He has never left our side.
On this Ash Wednesday, I am reminded of the final days of Christ. I wonder if Jesus looked into the eyes of the crowd at the foot of the cross, cheering His tortuous death, and recognized some of the same men and women who had just days before cheered His arrival in the city. Did he see my face at the foot of the cross? Was I mocking Him, or standing with John? Did I hide with Simon Peter, or did I gamble for his cloak? Did I fall at His feet?
Christ was abandoned and alone, waiting for you and I to accept His sacrifice and His forgiveness. For our sins He died. I weep thinking about His death, and I take comfort in the fact that He will never abandon me like I have Him.
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