Have you ever felt abandoned?
I have, and I know most of us have at least once in our lives.
I have been betrayed by former friends (a.k.a junior high and high school times).
I’ve been judged, misunderstood and ridiculed.
But worse than these, is to be alone and with no one come to your defense when you are in need.
Abandoned, utterly and totally abandoned by those you love and trust, by those who should be there, right by your side, fighting for you.
I have felt this way and have wallowed in my sorrow from it.
And then I look up, on the cross.
There, hangs a man, a King.
Not a week before, he was being hailed, praised, adored.
Not a day before, he was breaking bread and sharing wine with his friends, his followers. He was being anointed and washed.
But in his agony, he was alone .
Then he said to them, “My soul is sorrowful even to death. Remain here and keep watch with me.” …When he returned to his disciples he found them asleep. He said to Peter, “So you could not keep watch with me for one hour? ” (Matthew 26:38, 40)
In his defense, there was no one, not one who would speak out. Even those in whom he had placed the most trust…who would later lead His Church.
Then the maid who was the gatekeeper said to Peter, “You are not one of this man’s disciples, are you?” He said, “I am not.” … Now Simon Peter was standing there keeping warm. And they said to him, “You are not one of his disciples, are you?” He denied it and said, “I am not.” One of the slaves of the high priest, a relative of the one whose ear Peter had cut off, said, “Didn’t I see you in the garden with him?” Again Peter denied it. And immediately the cock crowed. ( John 18:17, 25-27 )
And even today, a couple thousand years after His Great Sacrifice, we forget Him.
We leave Him there, on the cross, alone…ignored…abandoned.
And at three o’clock Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani? ” Which is translated, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” ( Mark 15:34 )
And so, in my sorrow, in my times of loneliness or when I feel abandoned by those who are supposed to lead me and defend me, I remember.
I remember how I have abandoned Him. How I have forgotten Him and stayed silent, afraid….
Even when I want to love Him,
“The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” ( Mark 14:38 )
Though He was abandoned and is forgotten, He always remembers us.
He knows what we have done. He sees how we ignore him and turn away from Him.
But He does not turn away. He sees us, He loves us.
Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” ( Luke 23:24 )
We have been forgiven, redeemed…our sinful lives in exchange for his innocence.