April 15th, 2009

Psalm 22:1
My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me? Why are You so far from helping Me, And from the words of My



God sometimes doesn't make sense to us. The general theme of all that is in the scriptures is one of cause and

affect. Do good, and you will recieve good things. Live well, and prosper. Do bad and sin waits for you, leading

only to destruction. A simple concept, but sometimes it somehow gets reversed.

And then we have a verse like the one today. God, why have you forsaken. It goes against all those teachings of good

that we all know, and even the unchurched can recognize.

Didn't God make the world good? Didn't God tell us to do well, and he would make us to prosper? Isn't it sin that is

the cause of bad things? Why does God let bad things happen to his people? Why do we have this verse about God

forsaking us?

The scriptures do teach clearly enough that God will never leave or forsake us, that in other Psalms, the writer

calls confidently for vindication, trusting his life into God's care. We can learn from the Bible that God loves

justice, he preserves his saints, and wickedness is cut off). We are taught that God is our refuge, he is not far,

and salvation is near at hand.

So how do we make sense of those moments, where we barely live through them, groaning. We are in deep despair, agony

and pain. God seems to have left us, forsaken us in our deepest time of need. How can we make sense of the wonderful

words that appear in the Bible, and the sorrow we are going through?

The truth is that God really is near. He only seems far.

There is a story told about how the natives in America used to initiate their sons into manhood. The father and a

group of elders would take the son out to the woods, and the son would be left alone. For a period of time,

sometimes days, he was to survive on his own skills and abilities. He was to hunt and get his own food. The son was

forsaken in the wilderness, and expected to survive on his own.

The thing the son didn't know was that his dad, and elders of the tribe would follow him. Always staying out of

sight and earshot. They would monitor his progress. Sometimes they created ordeals for the son to be forced to face,

and at other times, if needed step in for protection in extreme circumstances. The son was never really alone, but

it seemed to that son that he was forsaken and in the wilderness alone. It was a test to prove the confidence and

ability of the son. It also let the father, and the tribe know that the son was ready to take part in their culture

as an adult.

A more modern day analogy is from a poem that was long thought to be anonymus, with author unknown. Over time others

have rewritten this poem and claimed it, but I have included it here with the believed original author's name.

Footprints in the Sand

One night I dreamed I was walking along the beach with the Lord. Many scenes from my life flashed across the sky.

In each scene I noticed footprints in the sand. Sometimes there were two sets of footprints, other times there was

one only.

This bothered me because I noticed that during the low periods of my life, when I was suffering from anguish, sorrow

or defeat, I could see only one set
of footprints, so I said to the Lord,

“You promised me Lord,
that if I followed you, you would walk with me always. But I have noticed that during the most trying periods of my

life there has only been one set of
footprints in the sand. Why, when I needed you most, have you not been there for me?”

The Lord replied, “The years when you have seen only one set of footprints, my child, is when I carried you.”

Mary Stevenson, 1936

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