The impossibility of being forsaken by God
Published 2:20 pm Thursday, September 8, 2022
To forsake another person is to leave them entirely, usually in a moment of need. When we are rejected, abandoned, renounced, and rejected, we have been forsaken. Have you ever been forsaken? If there is a word more chilling than that, an experience more dismal, I don’t know what it is. Forsaken. When people forsake you, they withdraw from you entirely. They have nothing more to do with you; they act as though you don’t exist. Feeling forsaken is worse than loneliness. There’s the added pain of being deprived by another: betrayed. You’re counting on someone to be there, to stand by you, but he or she is nowhere to be found. Someone promises to meet you in a strange place amid pressing dangers, but doesn’t appear. You feel doubly desolate for having been deceived. They leave when you need them the most. Imagine a soldier left behind by a platoon during a battle. They leave him or her there to die alone. There’s truly nothing more frightening than being forsaken.
Jesus was forsaken by his disciples. They fled when he needed them the most. Peter denied Him and Judas betrayed Him. Then on the cross, Jesus was forsaken by His own Father. In fact, the scripture says in 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?” Jesus had taken on Himself the past, present, and future sins of the entire world. The sin was a stink in the nostrils of God, and He turned His face away. God is light. In this moment the earth went dark in the middle of the day. Jesus felt this separation. The abandonment from His disciples was horrific, but being forsaken by His Father was unbearable. Jesus chose to call His Father God instead of Abba or Papa. Jesus knows how it feels to be forsaken, and He ensures that none of us will never experience abandonment. He knows what it feels like to be left alone, especially at the darkest hour.
Deuteronomy 31:6 proclaims, “Be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them: for the LORD thy God, he it is that doth go with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.” Jesus tells us that He will go with us always even unto the end of the world. When we get to the valley of death, we will not have to fear because He will be with us. His rod and staff will comfort us! His forsakenness means that I, with all who believe in him, will never be abandoned by God. He is condemned so that I can be forgiven. He dies that I may live. He drunk the bitter cup of death so that we may take from His pierced hands a cup of salvation.
That doesn’t mean that we will never feel abandoned any more, that it will never seem to us that God is absent. Experiences like that have come to all God’s children and still happen today. We may still cry out in our darkest hours, “Why are you so far from helping me, from the words of my groaning?” We may feel forsaken at times, but that is a complete impossibility!
The Apostle Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 4:7-11, “But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us. We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed; always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body. For we which live are alway delivered unto death for Jesus’ sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh.” We will all have difficult times in this life, but we will not face these difficult times alone because we have a friend that sticks closer than a brother. This friend knows what it means and how it feels to be forsaken, therefore He will ensure that those that believe upon Him, will never have to face life without His help and comfort. Jesus stated in John 14:18, “I will not leave you comfortless (Or as an orphan): I will come to you.” What a promise!
(Brandon Young is pastor of Harmony Free Will Baptist Church, Hampton)