“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”
I was in California over the weekend and attended the Palm Sunday service. The priest began his sermon with “My God, my God why have you forsaken me?” Of course we always hear this around the Easter season, so that did not come as a surprise. But then he went on to say, “When I hear that, I always hear God asking me why I have forsaken him?” I sat up and paid more attention then.
You know, I’ve said that phrase so many times to myself, when I was in real trouble, or earlier today, when I heard that a dear friend and classmate had just passed. My heart was broken and so many times when things don’t go the way we expect we decide that God must have abandoned us. And yet, the priest was right. How many times do we forsake the good Lord? We don’t really mean to, but somehow, life gets in the way or we are too busy or we decide to cut a corner and do something just a little bit dishonest, to get ahead.
Even as Good Friday and Easter approach, we need to take time to evaluate our lives to decide whether we are living at our highest potential, and whether we believe that God loves us, and is always with us, even during those periods when we feel like he has forsaken us.
It’s funny but more people come to church around Good Friday and Easter, even more than they do at Christmas and I sometimes wonder if we all inherently know that we do need salvation and that even if we live according to our own rules the rest of the year, on this day alone, we can acknowledge that we do need help, and dare to believe that Christ did indeed die for us. The good news about Easter is hope. There is always hope, no matter what we face, no matter the difficulties ahead there is always hope.
Take a minute to reflect and look back over your life.
Have you ever felt like giving up, when everything around you appeared to be crumbling? Suddenly you meet just the right person to help you in your current situation. In an instant or sometimes a little longer than an instant, the situation miraculously turns around and the sun starts shining again. I remember when we were deciding to move Texas, and neither my husband nor I had jobs yet. For some reason, I packed what I called my “interview suit” even though I did not have an interview set up. We visited one hospital and the recruiter said, hey are you a pediatrician? One of our pediatricians just left and we are interviewing for the position and just like that, I had an interview and a job soon after. God is good and never forsakes us even when he think he has.
There are the times when everything is going well in life.
You get the promotion you prayed so hard for, your child makes a perfect score on his SAT or ACT and gets in the college of his dreams and you are on cloud nine. Somehow, in an instant, we forget about all the praying, and it’s suddenly how good we are, and how great our strategy was. I can remember distinct events in my life, smiling from one ear to the next and forgetting to thank God. I wonder, did he feel like I had forsaken him? I’ve since learned just as I expect my teens to say thank you to me, when I do something awesome and wonderful for them, I need to do the same and take a minute to thank God for directing my steps and for being so wonderful to me.
Of course there are the times when we get upset with our teens for watching TV instead of doing their homework; yet we go to work and surf the internet or Facebook. It really is the same thing, even if eventually we do get the work done. Maybe we need to be a little more patient with our teens, especially in this Easter season of forgiveness and hope.
There are the times when our ego gets in the way.
We refuse to apologize to our spouse or to our teens even when we realize that we are in the wrong. I know, it’s really hard to admit to your teen that you were wrong about something, but aren’t those the exact qualities that we expect our teens to emulate? Who better than us to teach them about humility, and taking responsibility when we are wrong. I remember when my daughter was four or five years old, and would get into trouble with her dad and get a scolding. She’d wait patiently till she thought dad had calmed down and then she’d come and explain to him why he was wrong and sweetly ask for her apology. It always worked. I know that she learned to acknowledge when she was wrong, because that same privilege had been extended to her. So, please be honest with yourself and your teens. Just as you expect them to apologize when they offend you, take the time to do the same. They will become better people for it.
As Good Friday approaches and we attend our various church services, we will hear the familiar phrase, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” let it remind us that after the crucifixion came the resurrection. No matter what we are facing in life, there is always hope, always! So teach your teens to hope and to never give up. As parents, we never forsake or abandon our teens, and we have to believe that God extends that same favor to us.