The Glory of Suffering

1  My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?…
3  Yet you are holy…
6  But I am a worm and not a man…
9  Yet you are he who took me from the womb…
12  Many bulls encompass me…
14  I am poured out like water…
16  For dogs encompass me…
19  But you, O LORD, do not be far off…
22  I will tell of your name to my brothers…
25  From you comes my praise in the great congregation…
27  All the ends of the earth shall remember…
29  All the prosperous of the earth eat and worship…  (Psalm, 22:1–31, ESV)

Suffering and hardships can be hard to bear. At times we may feel like giving up. We wonder if there is any purpose to what is happening in our life. And these are very normal responses to suffering, and the reason these are typical responses is that we are very sorely lacking a biblical response to suffering. David experienced much suffering in his life and with poetical language, he describes the emotions of a person suffering greatly. Yet even in his description hear the hope constantly present.

David says that he has been abandoned by God, that God is so far from saving him, that he cries day and night but gets no response. Many of us have felt this way in our darkest of times. But hear David’s response, it is not to give up hope, or complain, he says that God is holy and enthroned, that God is to be trusted and those that cry to him are rescued. And this goes back again, David describes himself and his situation and then declares his hope in God. It is a stunning, to and fro, where David describes his situation, his state of existence, yet declares his trust and hope.

How could David do this? The key is, that for David, his state of existence did not define his position before God. Although he was surrounded by enemies and felt presently abandoned, he knew that his eternal position before God was secure. What this enabled David to do was to see and grieve because of his position and yet maintain hope and trust in God. And this would climax in the later verses where he is enabled to call the congregations and peoples to come and worship his God. Note that his situation has not changed, we are not told that he has been delivered, but rather, his hope in the future fact that he will be delivered enables him to call all people to worship the LORD.

Is this not the exact same thing Jesus did? Jesus cried our “my God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” Yet he had trust and hope in the fact that on the other side of the cross there was glory, this meant he could boldly continue, until the point of death, because he knew he would be vindicated by his Father. And because of Jesus, we have the same hope. Because Jesus endured our suffering and shame, we can endure all things in this world and look to our Father in Heaven who loves us, and know that though we remain in peril and plight now, a day will come when all things will be restored, where all wrongs will be made right.

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