READINGOld Testament: Jeremiah 29:1, 4-13
Psalms: Psalms 22, 95
New Testament: Romans 11:13-24
Gospel: John 11:1-27, 12:1-10
Evening Psalms: Psalms 141, 143
”My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?
And are so far from my cry and from the words of my distress?”
(Psalm 22:1 BCP)
What would I cry from the cross? This question comes up a lot in my prayer life during Lent. Would I be able to look at the jeering crowd and ask God for their forgiveness? Could I look at my best friend and ask him to care for my mother? But I keep coming back to one thing…
In all my pain and suffering, could I trust that God was with me?
Psalm 22, for me, bridges the most difficult gap in my spiritual experience. In those times when I seek God, and hear no answer; in those times when I feel hard-pressed on every side, when my burdens seem too much to handle; in those times it feels like the world is out to get me, I remember the psalmists cry:
”For he does not despise nor abhor the poor in their poverty;
neither does he hide his face from them; but when they cry to him he hears them.”
(Psalm 22:23 BCP)
I believe deep faith is coupled with what St. John of the Cross called, “the dark night of the soul.” It is unexplainable, but we will all experience times when we feel God’s absence, when everything stands against us, when our normal spiritual routine becomes dull, boring, and meaningless. For me, the hard part of this experience is the shift I perceive in verses 17 and 18. Even when I feel alone, God is with me. Even when I pray and hear silence, God is with me. Even when everything feels hopeless, God is with me.
This is not a platitude and, at times, it is impossible to remember. Yet, I must remind myself that it is not wrong to be angry with God. It is not wrong to feel slighted when God seems absent. The dark night of the soul is not an easy struggle, it is not a short struggle, and it is not one easily solved by saying, “God is with you.”
But God is with you, and He is with me. God will not forsake you, and He will not forsake me. And no matter how far away I may feel, or how far away God feels, God is with me.