“When it was noon, darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon. At three o’clock, Jesus cried out with a loud voice, ‘Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?’ which means, ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’” (Mark 15:33-34)
During the first semester of my senior year in college, I decided to take a course in religion. One day as we were wrestling with “why bad things happen to good people,” a classmate said, “I’m given great solace that Jesus doubted God’s plan for His life.”
Without any hesitation, I blurted out, “No way that happened.” (I, frankly, didn’t know what I was talking about, but I didn’t imagine Jesus had ever struggled or doubted.)
The woman quickly responded, “It absolutely did happen.”
I immediately said, “When and where did it happen?”
She then got a Bible out of her backpack and read today’s scripture. I was astounded.
That afternoon I went to the bookstore to purchase a Bible. I didn’t have one, and I wanted to see what else Jesus had to say.
The fact that Jesus doubted helped me to get curious about Jesus. That fact also helped me to eventually believe in Jesus. His humanity and vulnerability made Him more real and accessible.
At that time in my life, I thought that doubts undermined faith. Not so; I found out from Jesus. Doubts and struggles aren’t the opposite of faith; they’re just part of faith. They’re also just part of being human beings.
Sometimes the world seems out of control. Sometimes our lives don’t make sense. Sometimes it’s hard to discern when, where, and how God acts. Sometimes we feel lonely and forsaken. Sometimes we experience what Jesus questioned on the cross.
Although it may grieve us that Jesus went through feeling forsaken by God, let’s also be thankful that He went through such anguish. It can be incredibly encouraging when we trust that Jesus went through feeling forsaken so that we would never have to go through feeling forsaken without Him at our side.
- Have you ever cried out in anguish like Jesus did on the cross? If so, when and what were the circumstances?
- Do you admit and take your struggles and doubts to God, or do you pretend like you don’t have them? If you do the latter, what could Jesus’ example in today’s scripture be saying to you?
- Would you experience your struggles with faith any differently if you remembered that Jesus went through all that you’re going through?