About a year ago I posted a blog on “My God, My God, Why Have You Forsaken Me?” It has been one of my most popular posts, having been viewed nearly two thousand times. It spiked in views after the Newtown Sandy Hook Massacre, and has been having daily views ever since.
My blog was partially based on a sermon I have for the Lenten season, a sermon I preached last Sunday at the Spirit of Faith Church in Omaha. Whenever I preach this, I am struck by the strong emotions it brings out. We all deal with certain abandonment issues. I remember well the week after my Mom was killed in 1988, and how I felt abandoned. The fact that she had no choice in the matter didn’t change my feelings at the time. I had lost my mother and it brought forth a lot of irrational emotions.
What if we were truly abandoned by God? This is the picture that Paul hints at in Romans 1, where he repeatedly mentions that “God gave them up,” a reference to men and women who have embraced idolatry and sexual immorality. God abandons us to depravity if that is the course we choose. But I don’t think this is the same as God turning his back on us, forgetting us forever (or even a short time).
Don McLean, American Pie, wrote about this unthinkable situation in relation to God:
But not a word was spoken,
The church bells all were broken.
And the three men I admire most:
The Father, Son, and the Holy Ghost,
They caught the last train for the coast
The day the music died.
Friends, you don’t ever have to fear that God will forsake you. You will not wake up one day and find that God has gone, that heaven is empty, that you are alone in the universe. The music has not died. The music will not die. God has not abandoned you, and he never will.
As I was with Moses, so I will be with you;
I will not fail you or forsake you.
In our Lenten season, may we experience the presence of God in new and powerful ways. May we practice the presence of God by recognizing his role in our daily lives as Sustainer, Comforter, and Encourager. May we pray the great three things: To see Thee more clearly, love Thee more dearly, and follow Thee more nearly, each and every day. May we not yield to feelings of abandonment, but glory in God’s role in our lives.
Nebraska Christian College