Reflection

The television series Alone follows ten individuals who are left to fend for themselves and by themselves in the wilderness. Now, these aren’t everyday individuals plucked from Main Street, USA or Times Square. They are survivalists, hunters, and trappers, folks who know the wilderness and how to survive. Revealingly, the hardest trial for these people is not providing themselves with food and shelter, but enduring total isolation. Deprived of family and friends, even the hardiest struggle. Maybe we are not alone in the wilderness, but we, too, struggle with loneliness. Crises and difficulties in our lives isolate us. Though family and friends may be physically near us, we still feel terribly alone and even forsaken. 

Jesus not only experienced what it was like to be alone, but he felt what it was like to be forsaken.  

When Jesus took our sin and shame upon him, he entered a spiritual wilderness, a desert of the soul. In that moment, as he hung from the cross, he cried the lament of every human heart, who in the face of pain, sickness, abuse, wrongful accusation, and the shadow of death, shouts the cry of the forsaken.  

Question

Sometimes it is easy to think that God cannot relate to our circumstances, isn’t it? But, he bears our pain. He enters our darkness. He experiences our tragedy. He feels forsaken on our behalf. Where in your life do you feel alone and abandoned, forsaken by God? Confess those areas to the one who cries the lament of Psalm 22 for you. 

Prayer

Our God, we confess that there are areas of our lives in which we feel naked and afraid. We find ourselves alone, abandoned, and forsaken and we cry out to you in anger and frustration. “Why are you so far from helping me, from the words of my groaning?” May we know exactly where you are. For our sake, you have endured what we endure and much more. You have weathered the barren desert and dark wilderness so that we may no longer feel alone and forsaken. In you, we find comfort. Amen.  

The Art

The art in our title image is a detail of The Crucifixion by Léon Bonnat (1833–1922). To see the entire image or download, see Wikimedia Commons.

<i>The Crucifixion</i>, c. 1874, by Léon Bonnat (1833-1922)

TPW's Holy Week Meditation Series

Join us this Holy Week as Scott Bullock leads us through thoughtful meditations every day, perfect for busy pastors (and others!) seeking a moment of calm and to focus on our Lord. A new meditation will be posted on the TPW blog every day—and if you wish, you can download a copy of the whole series below.

Scott Bullock is a Board Member and Contributor with The Pastors Workshop. He is an ordained Presbyterian minister who has served churches in Illinois, New Jersey, and California. He holds an MA in New Testament Studies from Wheaton College, an MDiv from Fuller Theological Seminary, and a ThM in New Testament from Princeton Theological Seminary. Scott is married with three teen-aged children.

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