“God has said, ‘Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.’ So we say with confidence, ‘The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?’”
Hebrews 13:5-6 (NIV)
There is a hymn with lyrics, “How deep the Father’s love for us, how vast beyond all measure, that he should give his only Son, to make a wretch his treasure. How great the pain of searing loss—the Father turns His face away, as wounds which mar the chosen One, bring many sons to glory.”
This has always made me uncomfortable. Did the Father turn his face away from, and forsake, his beloved Son as most commentators tell us? We read in Matthew 27:46 that Jesus dying on the cross cried out, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” But because he feels forsaken does not make it so.
I was reading recently in Psalm 22:1 where the phrase is used by King David and Jesus may have been quoting this prophetic scripture. If we read on through the fulfilled prophecies such as verse 16, “they pierce my hands and my feet” and verse 18, “They divide my clothes among them and cast lots for my garment,” we come to the end where verse 24 concludes, “For he has not despised or scorned the suffering of the afflicted one; he has not hidden his face from him but has listened to his cry for help.” For me therefore this is not a cry of abandonment or despair but one which had full confidence in his Father. If it seemed for the moment he was alone, he knew for a certainty it was but for the moment.
Our Heavenly Father will never abandon or forsake us, just as he did not abandon or forsake his dying Son but raised him up, as he will us at the end of our lives as well!
Father in Heaven, you love all your children from your firstborn Son to every person ever born. We cry out to you in complete faith that you will never forsake or abandon us.
Study by Nancy Silcox
Worldwide Church of God Watford
St. Peter’s Church
61 Westfield Avenue
Herts. WD24 7HF
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