My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?
Why are you so far from saving me,
so far from my cries of anguish?
My God, I cry out by day, but you do not answer,
by night, but I find no rest (PSALM 22:1-2).
Of all the songs that David wrote, Psalm 22 is the most poignant, piercing, powerful, and prophetic. Jesus himself quoted from the psalm as he was dying on the cross. It was written one thousand years before Jesus was born and eight hundred years before crucifixion was even invented. Yet, here, generations before Christ, David takes us back to the future and puts us at the foot of the cross where his descendant, Jesus, would one day be crucified.
Ironically, this is a song written by a sovereign king about a suffering king. When you read this psalm you feel as if you are actually standing in the shadow of the cross. It feels like an eyewitness account: there is angst in the cry of Jesus, disgust in the hurled insults, and pain in the bones of our Lord pulled all out of joint.
52 Weeks Through the Psalms
This great psalm gives us the words of a desperate David and a suffering Jesus—but it also echoes the words of every Christian who has faced severe adversity. In short, it gives voice to our own heart’s cry when we have no one else to turn to. Oh yes, we’ve all been there. And we will all be there again. God never offers us a guarantee of a pain-free life. All of God’s children go through the fire, tread water through the flood, or quake with fear awaiting the results of lab tests.
And yet, just as this psalm makes us feel like eyewitnesses to Jesus’s passion at the cross, so we must always remember our own troubles also have an eyewitness. Jesus, who bore the pain that would secure our release from sin, now sees our every crisis. Never think you’re alone in your darkest hours. Jesus knows darkness from experience. He is with you.
James Merritt. 52 Weeks Through The Psalms Devotional. Harvest House Publishers. Eugene, Oregon, 2018.