1 My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?
Why are you so far from saving me, from the words of my groaning?
2 O my God, I cry by day, but you do not answer,
and by night, but I find no rest.
3 Yet you are holy,
enthroned on the praises of Israel.
One of the beauties of the psalms is the fact that these prayers and songs so often reflect the genuine hardship of life. The psalms, unlike modern prosperity preachers, remind us that living in the family of God is not easy. Often we suffer. Often we do not get what we want. Often things go far differently than we expect.
Psalm 22 is a perfect example of such a psalm. In it, the psalmist is suffering greatly. Verses 1-2 show us that he is despairing and feeling forsaken. How much anguish is in his soul? He expresses such sorrow that this psalm is the one on the lips of our Lord Jesus as he was crucified and suffered the wrath of God for sins he had not committed.
How do we deal with it when we feel forsaken? How should we respond when things have gone badly for us? Look at verse 3, and find the answer. David, in his pain, in his deep suffering, makes one solid declaration that puts everything in right perspective. David says of God, “Yet you are holy.”
When things do not go our way, we often feel unfairly treated. If our dark hearts are allowed to vent the poison of our sin, they will accuse God of mistreating us. WE are apt to feel like Eve in the garden and believe that God has held back something good from us that we deserve to have.
So, what do we do to overcome these feelings? The answer is, like the psalmist, to focus on the holiness of God. God is perfect, and infinitely so. God’s perfection makes him utterly different than us, above us, superior to us. He does not owe us ease. He cannot mistreat us, because he is the very definition of good. Anything that he gives us that is less than hell is mercy. Thus we can never be forsaken by God, If he forgives our sin and makes us his children, there is nothing in this life that we can go through that is wrong for God to allow.
Think of how many of God’s children have suffered greatly. David was chased by a murderous King Saul. Job was afflicted by Satan himself under the sovereign plan of God. Joseph was sold as a slave. Paul, Peter, James, and countless others in the family of God were imprisoned and put to death for their faith. Even the Son of God suffered humiliation and execution at the hands of sinful men. Yet, in all these, God has never ceased to be perfect, holy, and always right.
What we must understand is that the ways of a holy God are not our ways. God is wiser than us. He knows more of what he is doing than we can. He will refine us through the crucible of suffering. HE will give us the joy of seeing his glory as we trust in him through hardships. He will prove himself as perfect in eternity as he rewards his followers with his perfect love and kindness.
So, when we suffer or when things do not go our way, let us remember that God is holy. He is perfect. He cannot fail. As 2 Corinthians 4:16-18 reminds us, this life is short. Our momentary afflictions will be as nothing when they are compared to an eternity of perfection. The always right, always perfect, infinitely holy God will never wrong us. He may let us go through hardships, but he will never ultimately forsake us. Let us trust him and know that his ways are as far above ours as the heavens are above the earth.