Suffering

January 23, 2018

Psalms 22:1-2… My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, from the words of my groaning? O my God, I cry by day but you do not answer me, and by night, but I find no rest.

            This Psalm is quoted at Jesus death. For example, compare Psalms 22:18 with Luke 23:34(b), and Psalms 22:8 with Matthew 27:43, and others. That being true, there has been controversy about whether it was written as a prophetic statement of Messiah’s death or as a statement of loneliness and despair that was quoted at Jesus’ hour of trial.  If it was a general statement of despair that men go through, we can all find a point of identification. No one will ever experience the rejection and humiliation that Jesus did, but we can experience our own limited version of it. I have thought at times, “I cry by day but you do not answer me.” When I feel like that, it is very real to me. I am not comparing my suffering with Jesus’; I am just dealing with my own. What do we do when God seemingly doesn’t answer?

            I suspect we have all had times of discouragement when we thought God wasn’t listening, or didn’t care. Since Jesus quoted this psalm, we can know that He also experienced some pain. But, we also know that God did not forsake Him;  He raised Him from the dead. Sometimes suffering is the waiting period for God to act. We don’t want to hear that. But, it seems to be the way it works.

In fact, Jesus’ second coming appears to be preceded by a period of much suffering. Waiting is often accompanied by suffering. And many times, waiting is suffering. We know that God can relieve suffering, so if He doesn’t act right away, our suffering is prolonged by waiting. Without looking in my concordance, I already know that the Bible makes many references to waiting. Recently, a man drew attention to the phrase, “patiently enduring.” Sometimes, we endure God’s timing which does not meet our expectations. If you have asked God for something that would relieve some suffering, wait for it; He is answering. But, as with His own Son, the answer will come in His time. God cannot be rushed or hurried. He is God; He knows all.