Posted by Dr. Wade Smith on December 01, 2017
Sutherland Springs. . .Las Vegas. . .New York City. . .What do you say in the face of horrific evil that continues to manifest itself in our world and nation? Religious platitudes ring empty as we cry out. . . .”Where is God?” “Why have You forsaken us?”
Denied, betrayed, beaten and unjustly accused Jesus hung on a cross. In His suffering He cried out, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken me?”
On the cross, Jesus drew on the power of His faith to sustain Him. He remembered how centuries before King David cried out in anguish, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken me?” (Psalm 22) David felt abandoned and deserted by God. He felt alone in his pain. Jesus did to.
And so do the victims of Las Vegas, New York City, Sutherland Springs and countless other communities as they cry out, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken us?”
Psalm 22 continues, “O my God, I cry by day, but You do not answer; and by night, but I have no rest.” The raw emotion and honesty before God is striking. There are no answers, especially when God is silent. If only God would answer. Why is God silent? Why won’t He answer? And then there is the night. There is no rest and sleep at night. The fear, the anger, the despair, the vivid memories of such devastation keeps one awake at night. Others sleep, but victims feel so alone, so abandoned, so isolated. Will they ever be able to sleep through the night again? Maybe some night, but not tonight!
The Psalmist and thus the Scriptures acknowledge that no one is immune from the experience of sin and evil in this world. Encounters with this type of evil lead to unanswerable questions, immeasurable pain and unbearable isolation.
In John 10:10 Jesus identified a “thief” who comes to steal, kill and destroy. The Apostle Peter (1 Peter 5:8) describes an “adversary” who prowls around like a lion seeking someone to devour. The Scriptures clearly set forth the unrelenting and devastating presence and power of evil in this world, an evil that manifests itself in the spiritual and physical acts of stealing, killing, destroying and devouring.
Yet, evil does not have the final word. God is not silent, but has spoken loudly and decisively. The cross of Jesus gives way to the empty tomb. Jesus announces the ultimate defeat of death and evil through His resurrection.
Thus, today’s victims and survivors can find hope in the midst of their loss, pain and numbness. They can overcome by faith.
For this reason, we continue reading Psalm 22. Yet, You are Holy! In You our fathers trusted; They trusted and You delivered them. To You they cried out and were delivered; In you they trusted and were not disappointed.
The Psalmist finds hope and faith in the midst of his forsakenness because he knows that God is faithful. God is trustworthy. God is the Great Deliverer! No matter how desperate life becomes, God has always proven to be faithful. No matter how much evil seems to win the day, God has not disappointed. Even in our forsakenness, we can cry out to God confidently that He hears our cries and will deliver us from the devastation of evil.
This is our hope! This is our faith! God redeems our suffering, heals our wounds, and offers a new morning after the darkness.
Dr. Wade Smith