‘My God, My God why have you forsaken me?’ (Matthew 24:6). These must be the most harrowing words in the Bible. Jesus knew why He was sent to Earth. He knew what He had to do. He knew He was to be sacrificed for the sake of the world. But did He know that the Father would turn His face away at the time of His deepest need?
This wasn’t the end. It was the beginning of the final stage of His mission: to destroy the work of the evil one, and make the way clear for the redemption of mankind (1 John 3:8). A glorious victory was won in the face of defeat.
How often have we felt dejected and defeated? We know God loves us and we trust Him in every situation - or try to. But where is He when the going gets tough? At times, especially when we need Him most, He seems remarkably silent. Jesus said before He died, ‘Father, not my will, but Yours be done’ (Luke 22:42). Are we willing to say the same?
When the Israelites were fleeing from their captivity in Egypt they came up against the impossible barrier of the Red Sea. Their escape route was blocked and they were trapped. Panic set in. Moses, confident of the hand of God upon them, said to the people, ‘Don’t be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today’ (Exodus 14:13). The whole nation of Israel was then able to walk through the waters on dry land to freedom, and their enemies were destroyed.
When we’ve run out of options can we not turn to the One who has all the answers? ‘When you pass through the waters, I will be with you’ (Isaiah 43:2). ‘Call upon Me in the day of trouble. I will deliver you’ (Psalm 50:15).
On the road to Emmaus the disciples were disillusioned and downcast. They shared their troubles with a stranger they met along the way. ‘Are you the only one visiting Jerusalem who does not know the things that have happened there in these days?’ (Luke 24:18). They were so bound up in their own grief they did not realise it was the Lord walking alongside them. ‘We had hoped that He was the one who was going to redeem Israel’ (Luke 24). ‘Then their eyes were opened and they recognised Him’ (Luke 24:31). Grief was turned to joy. Defeat became victory.
Let us open our eyes and look beyond our circumstances, into the compassionate eyes of Jesus. He knows our weaknesses. He is our strength. We depend on His grace. ‘Surely I am with you always’ (Matthew 28:20). As we lean on Him we will surely be able to say, along with the disciples, ‘Were not our hearts burning within us while He talked with us on the road?’ (Luke 24 32).
Prayer: Forgive me, Lord, that often I’ve failed to go the distance, and allowed worry or panic to take over. I need to lean on Your grace and know my dependency is on You. Open my eyes to see You in every situation. Thank You, Jesus, that You do care. Amen.
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