“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, so far from my cries of anguish? My God, I cry out by day, but you do not answer, by night, but I find no rest.”
If you haven’t read through Psalm 22, I strongly encourage you do so. This Psalm of King David is rich with prophetic language that points the reader to the crucifixion of Jesus, particularly in verses 7-8 and 15-18 (compare with the events recorded in Matthew 27 and John 19). In addition to the amazing prophetic accuracy of this Psalm, there is something else that I find very powerful and applicable to our lives today and that is a powerful display of God’s control over His creation.
Often, we just think about Jesus when we read this Psalm but have you ever thought about what David was going through when he penned these words? We aren’t told many of the details of David’s situation but it’s easy to see that what he was going through must have been terrible. I’m sure many of us know what it feels like to go through a difficult time in life when it feels like God is distant. Maybe we’ve even cried out the words in verse 1 when we feel that all hope is lost.
Sometimes it feels like things are out of control in our lives, like even God is not able to help us but nothing could be further from the truth. As we read through Psalm 22 we see that, even in the midst of his suffering, David was able to say in verses 22-24, “I will declare your name to my people; in the assembly I will praise you. You who fear the Lord, praise him! All you descendants of Jacob, honor him! Revere him, all you descendants of Israel! For he has not despised or scorned the suffering of the afflicted one; he has not hidden his face from him but has listened to his cry for help.” These words of David are key here. God had not answered David’s prayer yet but he chooses to praise God anyways and he also reminds us that God listens to our cries for help. This should be no surprise to us when we consider that this is the same David who was willing to face the giant Goliath with nothing more than a slingshot, not because he was confident in himself but because he was confident in God’s control of the situation. This is why he was able to say, “The Lord who rescued me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear will rescue me from the hand of this Philistine.” in 1 Samuel 17:37.
We don’t know if David’s prayer to God was ever answered in Psalm 22. Likewise, sometimes we don’t get the “yes” answer we are praying for when we approach God. The really cool thing we can see from Psalm 22 is that, even though David may not have understood the reason for his suffering, we are blessed to be able to see that the circumstances he was going through at that time allowed the Holy Spirit to work through Him to pen the words that pointed to the crucifixion of Jesus some 1000 years before they happened. We are also blessed to be able to draw on this Psalm as proof that God had a plan for the Messiah all along and He brought His plan to fruition in His own time. All of this shows that He is in complete control and should give us hope that no matter what situation we are going through, God has a plan for us and he can even use situations that we consider terrible to accomplish amazing things. All we need to do is hold fast to Him and trust that His plan is good.
Written by Myles MacMillan, Minister, Central Church of Christ