Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "O For A Thousand Tongues To Sing"1 (Lyrics)
Psalm 22:1a – My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? (NIV)
Feeling forsaken can make things appear as if life's caving in.
I've always thought that of all people who should stand shoulder to shoulder in tough times, it should be family. Recently, a particular family member had the means to help my wife and me through a financially difficult period but chose not to. I felt forsaken … actually angry.
Examples of feeling forsaken are rife. Thousands of children feel rejected by parents who have abandoned them. Perhaps, they couldn't afford to raise them; maybe they didn't want to. Forsaken spouses join their multitude. Spouses have walked out on them for someone else because they didn't love them any more, or because they were tired of being married. Even friends sometimes forsake friends. There's just something about tragedies that leave us feeling forsaken, too.
The psalmist also felt forsaken — by God. His words were prophetic of what actually happened to Jesus when He was dying on the cross because of our sins. The psalmist doesn't give the reason that he's feeling forsaken. Perhaps, he was just writing Hebrew poetry that he knew people could identify with for thousands of years. I have a feeling, though, that someone had forsaken him, or some difficulty had assaulted him. Because of it, he imagined that God had also.
When hard times strike, it's easy to think that God has abandoned us. When others forsake us, it's easy to transfer our feelings of abandonment to God. Staking our faith in what the Bible teaches is essential when we feel abandoned, and the Bible says that God will never forsake us. Others might, but He won't. Regardless of how we might treat Him, He'll never leave. He's the only friend we can find about whom we can say that with confidence.
When we feel forsaken, we can remember how easy it is to confuse feelings with reality. Feelings often change within the same day and even the same minute. How we feel may or may not reflect reality. If we feel forsaken by God, our feelings are never mimicking reality. God is forever by our side to comfort, guide, and instruct us. When others walk out, He stands nearby.
In those times when we feel forsaken by others — particularly God — we must depend on faith, not feelings. Our relationship with God is built on truths and realities. Walking by faith helps us to experience His presence even when we don't feel it.
On the third day after Jesus repeated the psalmist's words about being forsaken, God's very presence with Jesus was manifested in His being raised from the tomb. When you're feeling forsaken, remember that God will never abandon you.
Prayer: Father, we thank You that we can always depend on You to remain by our side in the good times and the bad. Amen.