All throughout scripture God assures of us the promise that He is always with us. He gave that promise to Jacob, to Joshua, the people of Israel. And Jesus gave us that same promise before his ascension into heaven. Not only is God’s presence promised to us, but also His love, the patient, kind, faithful, enduring, never-failing love, is ours as well. The passage that says it in a way no other does – spells it out, if you will – is Romans 8:38-39
For I am convinced that neither death nor life,
neither angels nor demons,
neither the present nor the future, nor any powers,
neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation,
will be able to separate us from the love of God
that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
These words are a wonderful assurance of how secure my relationship with the Father truly is. Ever since I have known and experienced God’s love, I cannot imagine life without it. I have not even tried to imagine.
That is, until last night. Last night’s Good Friday “Come Thirsty” Good Friday service centered around the last sayings of Jesus.
|"My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?"|
In that moment Jesus had taken upon himself all of the sins of the world. In that moment the wrath of God was poured out upon His only Son.
In that moment the assurance of God’s love, the oneness of the Son with the Father, was abruptly, violently, merciless taken from Jesus.
As the congregation listened and meditated on the message as it was being delivered, I imagined, what would it be like if every single promise the Bible gives us were taken from me, abruptly, violently, mercilessly?
What would it be like if the God – the One who by His Holy Spirit lives inside of me – left my life without so much as a good-bye note?
Panic. Anguish. Inconsolable grief.
The physical suffering of Jesus was not enough to satisfy the wrath of God’s judgment. The Savior experienced the heart-wrenching emotional and spiritual agony the Father must feel when we choose to live in an unrepentant broken relationship with Him.
Jesus, you suffered the anguish of separation from the Father’s love. You did it for me, so I would never have to know the pain of such abandonment and forsakenness. The promises of your presence and love mean much more now than ever before. Your love for me is deeper, higher, wider than I can ever comprehend. I thank you more than my words can ever express. Amen.