ReadingMy God, my God, why have You forsaken me? Matthew 27:46

My soul, was it not enough that your Lord should be forsaken of man in His sorrow? Was it essential to the accomplishment of your salvation and to your support and comfort in seasons of soul desertion and darkness that He should likewise be forsaken of God? Yes! It must be so. The history of the universe never presented such an abandonment.

With what a depth of emphasis that word must have sounded from His pale lips, quivering with agony: ”My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? You, my Father, You, whose Name I am glorifying, whose church I am redeeming. Why, my God, my God, have you forsaken me? I can endure to be abandoned by man, but to be forsaken by you, my Father, in the hour of my deepest sorrow!”

Of whom was Jesus forsaken? His Father. And when, O my soul, you walk in a sense of divine desertion, who is it that says to you, ”For a small moment have I forsaken you, but with great mercies will I gather you?”  It is your Father in heaven. It is a Father’s momentary withdrawment; and although this thought adds keenness to the discipline and intensity to the cloud, is there no consolation in knowing that the hiding is paternal—a Father hiding Himself from His child? Thus, though He hides Himself, He is a Father still.

But, what was a cloud of thick, all-enshrouding darkness to Jesus is salvation’s light to us. Even as His sorrow is our joy, His wounds our healing, His death our life, so His abandonment on the cross is “our bridge to heaven; an unfathomable abyss for all our sins, cares, and anxieties; the charter of our citizenship, the key whereby we may open the secret chamber of communion with God.”

Thus, if you are walking in darkness and have no light, let the thought brighten your horizon that it is not the darkness of hell and condemnation, but the darkness only through which all the “children of light” more or less travel—the darkness with which the Sun of Righteousness Himself was enshrouded—and which, when it is past, will make the sunshine of God’s love and the Saviour’s presence all the sweeter, dearer, brighter.

And how did Jesus deport Himself in this season of divine forsaking? What supported and comforted Him during this total and dreadful eclipse through which His sinless soul passed? He trusted in God. His faith could still exclaim, “My God, my God.” So lean upon your covenant God, O you children of light walking in darkness. If all is dark—a hidden God, an absent Saviour, a frowning providence—now is the time to have faith in God. “Who is among you that walks in darkness, and has no light? let him trust in the name of the Lord, and stay upon his God.” Stay yourself upon His covenant faithfulness and unchanging love, and believe that Jesus intercedes for you in heaven, and that soon you shall reach that blissful world where your sun shall no more go down.

Taken from Consider Jesus: Thoughts for Daily Duty, Service, and Suffering by Octavius Winslow, 1870 (public domain).

Edited and abbreviated by Aaron Dunlop for this blog. ©