Yea… I know ‘Forsooked’ is not a word, but it does help identify the content of this writing… being forsaken, experiencing abandonment… even living with an ongoing disappointment you may be experiencing from having been divorced, adopted, even the loss of a loved one… these events in our lives are sad… they are hard… they are very life wrenching and quietly tear on our hearts.
Even Jesus Himself experienced a deep and profound moment of abandonment… of despair… of that lonely “why have you left me” time in His life. It occurred RIGHT when it seems as though it was the most critical and essential moment in His life. See… while nailed to the cross… at the very, very end of that torturous day… all the anguish, heartbreak, misery… the Bible tells us that even He cried out to God… asking Him why He’d been abandoned…
Jesus ‘felt’ like He’d been abandoned… deserted… forsaken?
Me? Hard to even write this without crying… without feeling His pain because I too have this pain… this experience of abandonment… that soul-emptying realization that someone with whom you trusted everything deep in your heart… has gone… has left… no longer answering you… no longer ‘there for you’, and worse… that ensuing ugly feeling that you are all alone… on your own… there is no ‘team effort’ in loneliness… solitude… neglect and being forsaken.
Being forsaken is easy to identify in your own life… I mean, we can reflect back on times, places, events when we experienced ‘being dumped on’, as it were. Of ALL the things we are taught in life, we are not directly taught the details of being forsaken… the ins-n-outs… the things leading up to it, the trauma during it, and the war-torn destruction it can leave behind. It is just what we experience, how we experience it, when we experience it… you know… Life!
You see, being forsaken can be characterized by events of desertion… from being left at child-care as a young tyke, to divorce, job loss, even just something as simple as planning a great weekend event that gets dashed and canceled ‘at the last minute’. These moments of being forsaken are made much, much worse due to the anticipation, the ‘looking forward to’, the longing hope-to-come of this event. Having ‘dashed expectations’ is one of the toughest experiences of life and we tend to not handle them well!
Jesus seems to even have a hint of anger in His tone… in His “you let me down” statement. Hanging there on the cross… after promising all His followers that He is the King of Kings, and Lord of Lords… He experienced a serious and deep forlorn moment there… utter disappointment… abandonment.
Sure… He’s God and He knows (knew) how it was all going to play-out… how this moment in His life was an essential transition… how God would be victorious over this death. This still makes me wonder; Why then would He even ‘utter’ disappointment… sorrow… and in some ways accuse God Himself for leaving Him ‘hanging’ (pardon the pun).
We are not God though… we are not so ‘omnipresent’ and aware of the “things to come”. The best we can do is trust… have faith… be patient and let God work His plan in our lives. Sometimes… I like to watch a movie I’d already watched before… “knowing the ending” makes the anguish of the plot MUCH easier to tolerate… much nicer and easier to even endure the calamity the story-line is dragging my heart through! I now know the ending, so the journey is so much easier on my spirit.
Life is just not going to give you any clues like that, right? In some cases you can ‘see it coming’, but way too many others times, we are blindsided… slammed with the calamity then-n-there… instant turmoil enters our lives, and it leaves us hollow… leaves us broken, staggering, and sometimes in utter dismay and we just crumble into a puddle of life.
There are endless ways, events, moments in your life when you have been abandoned… some were horrific… some run-of-the-mill… and some rather simple and uneventful. But, they all pile up in our lives and leave us broken and scarred… hurt… tormented… and can even shape our lives so that we try SO hard to never, EVER allow these to happen again… hedging our hearts… blocking the danger-potential… even just catching us trying to ‘screen’ for pending doom… watching for it… ready to fend-off any demise. As an example, divorce can rip a hole in your spirit that is so tough to overcome… death of a close loved one is a very tough experience from the loneliness to the sorrow of things left unsaid… even adoption can leave us feeling hollow or incomplete, not knowing your parents… your heritage… your very connection and ‘place’ in this world… where you come from and why you are you.
As insignificant as it may seem, even a loss of security can send us into a spiral of discouragement, despair, even hopelessness… our tangible lives glean a sense of belonging through our homes (safety), our careers (purpose), even savings or income (sustain life). Losing these and others like them… raise fear in our lives… throw something of a panic into our lives…… a funky level of tension… uncertainty… pending doom, as it were.
Jesus on the Cross
There is Jesus though… suffering through the physical agony, sure… the emotional agony and the spiritual agony would be much, much worse. To the point that He ultimately CRIED out, “Why hast thou forsaken me?”, then died. Matthew 27:46 “And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?“
Why He didn’t exclaim something like, “Yeeee Dawg! I am coming home Father!” seems a little more appropriate for the lead-up He’d been giving us during His ministry. His proclamation however has utter despair in it. Be comforted, dear friend… even Jesus felt abandoned… even Jesus felt left-alone and deserted. He was truly human, but maintained a hope… maintained His devotion to the God He worshiped… maintained His place in God’s very plan!
God’s very plan never protects you from sorrow… from anguish… even from the very feeling and sense that God has forsaken you… that is YOUR feeling… that is YOUR interpretation of the events you are experiencing… YOUR perception of the turmoil.
Please consider… please give thought… please remember that disappointment is directly fueled by dashed expectations… thwarted plans… a change or deviation from some hope you either envisioned, or were promised. No… it is not all your fault… but, we contribute to the disappointment based on how much we were committed…. invested… sold-out to the expectation… that whole ‘all in’ posture we get when we’re convinced that THIS is a good choice for our life. God would never want that we experience anguish, pain, sorrow. He began this world with the sole purpose of having an environment in which ‘all things are good’. But, His plan for us… His world for us… changed.
Remember the Psalmist in Psalms 62:5 once shared; “My soul, wait thou only upon God; for my expectation is from him.” See that? Expectations are not bad at all… where they lie can be where the disappointment enters. Trust and faith in God… hope in the Lord… being steadfast and patient. Sure… Jesus tried that, and look where that got him, right? Yes… but, no. I mean, yes… Jesus expressed disappointment or at least He seemed to feel abandoned. As this Psalmist passage encourages us though, he was talking directly ‘back’ to his own soul… “…wait thou only on God“. Not an easy characteristic to have in your life… not easily obtained… not something we use as a go-to action in our lives. But, that IS the point… we must. You may recall the scripture actually says, “Be still and know that I am God”. We are a people of action… of putting results into play… of getting things done… rarely watching and waiting on God to have His way… in His time.
I know… we seem to need to know ‘why’, on almost everything. Why that happened, why this is happening, why do I need to wait… need to trust… need to have faith. Proverbs 10:28 tells us;
The hope of the righteous shall be gladness: but the expectation of the wicked shall perish.
YouVersion Bible Proverbs 10:28
Your hope with the Lord ‘will’ result in gladness. Expectations are fine… really…. just be SURE wherein your hope lies. Please be quiet… be silent in the Lord… be patient… and He will show you His will… His way… His plan. Now… this is NOT to say you “sit there and don’t move until God gives you direction”. NO! In fact, He needs you living… He needs you moving… He needs you active and living His life. When you get a chance, pop over and read the Dead Weight story… you’ll see!
How can you know where and what to trust anymore these days? It is tough. We are barraged with ‘trust this’, ‘trust that’, or ‘trust me’ advertisements, the ‘trust them’ campaign ads… it is overwhelming. Be sure, sure, SURE your trust and hope lies in the Lord;
And the Lord, he it is that doth go before thee; he will be with thee, he will not fail thee, neither forsake thee: fear not, neither be dismayed.
YouVersion Bible Deuteronomy 31:8
God is going before you, clearing His path for your life… making His way for your life… we just need to trust Him in that… to follow Him in that, and remain true, faithful, and upright in His leading. The things of this world will distract you… they will dismay you… they WILL derail your hope, your desire to follow, even your expectations of ‘a good life’, because we need instant gratification, all-to-often. Bear with the Lord… He will not forsake you… ever!
For the Lord will not cast off his people, neither will he forsake his inheritance.
YouVersion Bible Psalms 94:14
I know… God ‘seems’ to have abandoned Jesus hanging there on that cross… RIGHT when Jesus needed God the most… right when “all eyes are watching” and “the balance of the world” seems to be on that very moment. But, we tend to look on things in the ‘now’, not as God has them planned… and there is the core problem. Back to our ‘dashed expectations’… back to our limited vision for God’s plan. There is more to come that we may not yet see…. our very bones need to come alive in Him.
Dear friend… hear His calling on you for that, at least.
Jesus will NEVER leave you, nor forsake you. He experienced it… He knows that core feeling of being abandoned… of being left “hanging in the wind”… that utter disappointment, dismay, disappointment. But, Paul assures us in Hebrews 13:5;
Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.
YouVersion Bible Hebrews 13:5
There! You will NEVER experience that abandoned feeling again… you will NEVER have that forsaken feeling, ever again…
You will have those ‘feelings’ because you are human… you are “in this world, not of it“… you are walking by faith, not by sight. That means you will experience all of life, good, bad, and ugly… all of the turmoil that Sin has to throw at you… all the disappointments… the pain… the utter desolation. We can count on His word… we can trust His promise… we can most certainly rest assured…. Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ! Philippians 1:6