Unlocking the Deeper Meaning…
When we face the most difficult times in our lives it is natural to question why things like these happen when we have a God who loves us so much. As a hospice chaplain I hear many people say they don't feel that it is appropriate to question God when a tragedy happens. I respectfully, gently, but passionately disagree! The reluctance to approach God with our painful questions often stems from a misunderstanding of our relationship with our heavenly father. If our earthly fathers were responsible for helping us understand life, how much more would God want to answer our questions?
Jesus set an example for us in this regard. He directly questioned God's actions! Here is an excerpt from my book When Gospels Collide that shows how Jesus directly confronted his father with the ultimate question:
365. Jesus Dies on The Cross
aMatt. 27:45-54; bMark 15:33-39;
cLuke 23:44-48; dJohn 19:28-30
a45Now b33when the sixth hour had come, c44darkness came a45over all b33the whole land until the ninth hour. b34At a46about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, b34"Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?" which is, being interpreted, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" b35Some of them who stood a47there, when they heard it, said, b35"Behold, a47this man is calling Elijah." d28After this, Jesus, seeing that all things were now finished, that the Scripture might be fulfilled, said, "I am thirsty." d29Now a vessel full of vinegar was set there. a48Immediately one of them ran, and took a sponge, and filled it with vinegar. d29So they put a sponge full of the vinegar on hyssop, and held it to his mouth, a48and gave him a drink, b36saying, "Let him be. Let's see whether Elijah comes to take him down a49to save him." d30When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, c46crying b37out a50again c46with a loud voice, said, "Father, into your hands I commit my spirit! d30It is finished." Having said this, he bowed his head; c46he breathed his last a50and yielded up his spirit. a51Behold, c45the sun was darkened, a51the veil of the temple was torn in two from the top to the bottom. The earth quaked and the rocks were split. a52The tombs were opened, and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised. a53And coming out of the tombs after his resurrection, they entered into the holy city and appeared to many.
Most translations of this passage do not convey the desperation of Jesus' question. What he was saying is, "My God, my God, why did you give up on me? Why did you turn your back on me?" In his darkest moment, the humanity in Jesus could not find the divinity that was his innate nature. He was truly alone. Even those standing around him watching him die had no idea what he was saying. Not more than a few days before, many hundreds of people cheerfully greeted him as he came into Jerusalem for Passover. Now, only a handful of people stand around waiting and watching for him and two common criminals to die. THIS is the moment when the big questions have the right to be asked.
YOUR of pain and uncertainty is the time when the big questions can be asked of God as well. He is big enough and tough enough to take whatever questions we ask. The question for us is this: are we big enough and strong enough to handle the answers when God gives them?