Have you ever been abandoned by God? We say “no.” Because we think that’s what we’re supposed to say. But have you ever felt abandoned by God? Some may still say “no,” but a lot of us will say “yes.” Because of a deep wound to the heart. And in our woundedness, we ask, “God, where are you?”
Perhaps the most intense feeling of abandonment in scripture was expressed by Jesus. When Jesus was on his way to the cross, he was beginning to feel abandoned. We are told that Jesus was overwhelmed with sorrow, that he was in anguish, and that his sweat was like drops of blood. Though he prayed that God’s will be done, he also prayed, “may this cup be taken from me.” (Matthew 26:39-42, NIV; Mark 14:36; Luke 22:42)
When Jesus had been nailed to the cross, he was engulfed by God’s abandonment: “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46; Mark 15:34) In Luke 23:46, just before he died, Jesus said in a loud voice, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.” In Luke’s account, do we hear a glimmer of hope? In his deep woundedness, is Jesus trying his best to trust in the Father?
We know the rest of the story. Jesus was resurrected and reunited with God. We hope, as we hold on to as much trust as we can, this kind of ending will heal the wounds that cause us to feel abandoned, just as Jesus surely felt abandoned and was finally given new life.
Jesus, who lived as one of us and knows our pain, is now our intercessor. (Romans 8:34; Hebrews 7:25) In Matthew 28:20, we can be encouraged by Jesus final words: “And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Let us trust those words of comfort and healing.