“My God -- Why?-
April 8 2011 by D.E. Parkerson

My God, my God, why have you forsaken me (Mark 15:34)?” There is a mystery behind these words spoken by Jesus from the cross which we cannot penetrate.  

The Son of God had taken our life upon Himself. He had faced our temptations and borne our trials. He had suffered all that life could place upon Him. He had known the failure of friends, the hatred of foes, and the malice of enemies. He had faced the most searing pain that life could offer. There was only one experience He had not yet known — He had never known the consequence of sin.  

The major thing that sin does: it separates us from God. It builds a high wall between us and our Creator that no human can scale. Jesus had never been separated from the Father before the cruel hours He spent nailed to a Roman cross. In this one terrible moment He took our penalty for sin, which is death, upon Himself. He, who knew no sin, experienced what it was like to be a sinner.  

Jesus, for the very first time, knew what it was like to be separated from the Father. That is why we need never fear to go to Him when sin has built a wall between us and God. There is no depth of human experience which Christ has not shared.  

“My God, why?” is a question that most of us, in time of great pain and suffering, have shouted in the direction of heaven. It is comforting to know that the Son of God has shared this experience before us, and that He did it for us. He turned the apparent tragedy of His crucifixion into a basis for universal blessing with the song of victory: “Father, into Your hands I commit My Spirit” (Luke 23:46).  

It is in these words from the cross that we discover the key to a proper and beneficial response to our times of suffering. It is true that Christ’s sufferings were on our behalf, but they also came as a consequence of living in this distorted world.

God does not afflict us with suffering. He does, however, enable us to bear it, and even to discover meaning and often some purpose for our conflicts and afflictions. The Christian’s proper response to suffering is to realize that no one in our world, not even those who love and serve God, are immune to hardships, pain, and suffering. And to realize, as the Apostle Paul said, “In all things (yes, this includes hardships and suffering) God works for the good to those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28).  

The Christian’s attitude to the difficult moments of life should always be to face them, accept them — and allow God to use them to achieve His purpose in our lives and through us in the lives of others. I have known many saints of God who faced extreme difficulties in this way, and they became instruments through whom God richly blessed everyone around them. This becomes possible only by the grace of God.  

Following the cry of abandonment expressed by Jesus, John’s Gospel tells us that He died, having said, “It is finished!” (John 19:30). Thus, Jesus died with triumph on His lips. His assigned mission had been completed. Following the terrible darkness that had covered the earth during His hours upon the cross, the light returned. Several days later He went home to the Father to prepare a dwelling for those who trust Him. 

(EDITOR’S NOTE — Parkerson is a native of Georgia, a graduate of Mercer University [B.A.], Southeastern Seminary [M. Div. and Th.M.], and Campbell University [D.D.]. He has served as pastor of one church in Georgia and five churches in North Carolina. Following retirement as pastor of the First Baptist Church in Sanford on Sept. 30, 1996, he has served 10 North Carolina churches as interim pastor. His column, The Paper Pulpit, has appeared weekly in a few newspapers and other publications since 1958. He and his wife, Jessie, live in Wilmington near their daughter and family.)

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4/8/2011 7:52:00 AM by D.E. Parkerson | with 0 comments

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