“My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?” –Mark 15:34
At noon, darkness fell across the whole land until three o’clock. Then at three o’clock Jesus called out with a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” which means “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?” (Mark 15:33–34 NLT)
The passage that Jesus quotes in Aramaic comes from Psalm 22, one of David’s more famous psalms of lament. In his commentary on Matthew, Craig S. Keener writes that Jesus’s cry “suggests that he participated in our ultimate alienation from God in experiencing the pain of death.” It was on the cross that He felt the full weight of the sin of humanity on His shoulders. This was the moment when Jesus felt furthest away from the Father, the moment He prayed about in the Garden of Gethsemane that caused Him such anguish that He sweat blood. If anyone throughout history has any cause to lament, it is He who hung upon the tree.
While despair is suffering without faith or hope, to lament is to hold fast to your faith within the midst of suffering. Every lament is a prayer that flows out of a deeply grounded faith, a yearning for something beyond the present circumstance. The lament of Psalm 22 opens with the phrase “my God, my God,” indicating there is still trust even in the midst of abandonment. There is much to lament in this fallen world, but rarely do we take the time to pour our hearts out to God in such a way. Take time to lament today, being mindful that every lamentation includes grief over what is as well as hope for what will be.