Good morning everyone:
Last night my wife and I watched a movie in which one character, a young teacher, at a time of great personal crisis, poured out her heart to her father saying, “Jesus seems a million miles away!” Just when she needed Him most, He seemed to be disinterested and out of reach.
Maybe you have felt the same way. The death of a loved one leaves you grief-stricken, and your prayers for the Lord to take away the hurt seem to fall on deaf ears. You ask Him to defuse growing tensions at work, but the stress keeps building. You ask Him for a Christian spouse, and nothing happens. You plead for a clear indication of how to deal with a problem in the family, and the matter just seems to get more complicated.
You’re not alone. David felt that way too as he penned Psalm 22: “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, so far from the words of my groaning O my God, I cry out by day, but you do not answer, by night, and am not silent.”
It’s terrifying to think that there could be times when Jesus is a “million miles away.” What’s more, there is no reason in us for Jesus to care. It is not that we are such faithful followers, that He can’t help but reward us by coming to our aid. He doesn’t owe us for what we have done for Him. We deserve to have Him turn His back and leave us to our rightful punishment.
Yet He doesn’t do that. We know that by looking again at Psalm 22. The words sound so familiar, because they were not just spoken by David, but by Jesus as He hung dying on the cross. The Holy Spirit inspired David to foretell what Jesus would pray to His heavenly Father many centuries later.
In Jesus’ plea we find reassurance that He is never far away and that He will never forsake us because of our sin. For there on the cross Jesus was forsaken by God in our place. The Father turned His back on His own Son because He laid on Him the iniquity of us all. Jesus paid the penalty in full and cried out in victory, “It is finished!”
So don’t worry. In Jesus all is well between you and God. “For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and his ears are attentive to their prayer” (1 Peter 3:12). With His word of forgiveness He wraps you tightly in His arms and says, “I love you.” With every word about Himself and His plans He takes you into His confidence and assures you that no matter what, He will never leave you or forsake you. He will always answer your prayers in the best way at just the right time.
In tomorrow’s sermon text (2 Tim. 3:14-4:5), Paul encourages Timothy in the face of false teaching and persecution to trust in the Lord’s presence and protection provided in His unchanging Word.
Tomorrow’s Bible class on Christian parenting will continue the discussion on discipline.
Yours in Christ,