How long, O Lord? Will You forget me forever? How long will You hide Your face from me? How long shall I take counsel in my soul, Having sorrow in my heart daily? How long will my enemy be exalted over me? Consider and hear me, O Lord my God; Enlighten my eyes, Lest I sleep the sleep of death; Lest my enemy say, “I have prevailed against him”; Lest those who trouble me rejoice when I am moved. But I have trusted in Your mercy; My heart shall rejoice in Your salvation. I will sing to the Lord, Because He has dealt bountifully with me. Psalm 13:1-6
I think we’ve all had times when it’s felt like God’s been far away from us. Generally these have been times of great personal difficulty. Whether at work, at church, or in the home or family stress and pressure has been brought to bear on our ability to cope and handle the situation and we’ve felt like we’re about to crumble under the strain and it’s felt like we’re carrying everything all by ourselves.
Jesus understands how you feel. All his life he’d carried burdens that very few of us could appreciate but he’d been content to bear them because he’d been strengthened by the presence of the Father who was always with him helping him with each step as he carried all our sins, dysfunctions, and shortcomings to the cross. But on the cross he didn’t just feel alone; he was alone. For the first time in his life, with the weight of all the guilt of the sins of the whole world pressing down upon him, the Father’s presence and strength were absent and his cry, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me!”, tells us just how much that absence tore at his soul.
Friends, Jesus experienced the complete absence of God so that we never have to. He bore with the reality of having none of the Father’s strength helping him bear his burdens so that we never have to. He took our sins and experienced more than just God’s absence he felt the complete rejection and condemnation of God for sin, our sin, so that you and I never have to.
So while it’s true that at times life feels as if it’s unbearably hard, and we feel like we’re carrying the weight of the whole world all by ourselves, we need to remind ourselves that these trials are much less than they could be, much less than really ought to be, because Jesus took the weight upon himself. The part we’re bearing is just the part necessary for us to not get too comfortable here on this sinful planet. The hardships and trials we have to cope with are just the ones God’s kept to teach us the dependence we need learn so that we can develop the courage, character, strength, and faith necessary for us to become the children of God he’s calling us to become.
By the end of Psalm 13 David realizes that God’s always been with him carrying him and he rejoices in the presence of God and the bounty of his care.