Psalm 22 is one of the most famous Psalms for those who are grieving the loss of a loved one or the intense feeling of unanswered prayer. Many of us petition God continually not only for our own needs but also the needs of others. In a world filled with poverty, disease, and heartbreak, this Psalm is one we each can identify with at some point in our lives. We ask ourselves during these times if God really is a loving God – because if He were, wouldn’t He answer these prayers to resolve such devastating things? If God were all powerful, wouldn’t He in His loving power reach down and heal the world from its ills? When these huge devastating events hit close to home, hurting our families or close friends and we drop to our knees looking for God to rescue the situation and He doesn’t, how do we resolve that in our hearts?? Sometimes we don’t see how God makes good from a situation until long after it’s over, but it is very difficult to see in the moment.
The only comfort we have is that we are in good company. A couple of years ago, Mother Teresa’s confessor did a highly controversial thing in publishing her letters of confession to him. Mother Teresa confessed that, for more than 20 years, she never felt the presence of God and wondered if her prayers would be answered. It’s difficult for us to imagine that a woman who is so revered for her faithfulness actually had doubt.
Finally, remember that these words from verse 1 are so familiar because Jesus said them on the Cross, “…My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?” Jesus, the Son of God, the one so intricately connected to God, a part of God Himself, felt the agony of the separation. We can take comfort that God, at the very least, understands.