November 22, 2017

The Homily

Kim_Crucifixion_500My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?
Why are you so far from saving me,
so far from my cries of anguish? (Psalm 22:1, NIV)

About three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eli,Eli, lema sabachthani?” (which means “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”) (Matthew 27:46, NIV).

Breakfast at the Savoy this week consisted of scrambled eggs, hashbrowns, blueberry pancakes, Doubleshot coffee, and a piercing comment by Adam Palmer.

I had said that, as I continue to struggle with the black dog of depression, I feel like God has abandoned me.

“Then you are close to Jesus on the cross,” said AP.

My fork stopped halfway to my mouth.”Repeat what you just said.” He did. I thought that through, then said,  “So feeling abandoned by God is a part of the ‘dying to self’ we are called to?”

Yes, said Adam.

For some reason, that brought a small amount of comfort.

I have always heard that God the Father did not actually abandon Jesus. Jesus only felt abandoned. And, the thinking continues, feelings are not real. So don’t give in to the feelings, but trust the promises. You have, no doubt, heard the same chorus yourself. But is that true? Will God ever abandon us?

When Jesus cried out from the cross, he was quoting one of the most gut-wrenching psalms of all. Jesus does not ask, “Why do I feel like you have abandoned me?” but “Why have you abandoned me?” There is an abandonment in the mysteries of the passion that is very real. It was so very real that darkness overtook the land in the middle of the day. It was so real that an earthquake ripped at the earth that received Jesus’ blood. God had abandoned Jesus.

And yet … and yet God could never abandon Jesus, “for from him and through him and for him are all things.” Jesus holds all things in himself, including death, including the abandonment of his Father. So Jesus was abandoned while holding abandonment itself in his being. Again, this is a great mystery, one that is at once revealed and resolved in the Cross.

Jesus says the only way I can be his follower is for me to pick up my cross and follow him. And that cross includes participating in the sufferings of Christ, and that means I will also know being abandoned by God. Not just a feeling that I am to ignore, but a very real abandonment that is held within Jesus himself. There is no confessing, no speaking promises, no claiming blessings that will eliminate the need to experience abandonment for one who truly desires to press into the heart of the Father.

Yes, there is the reality of God forsaking Jesus on the cross and, as we carry our cross, forsaking us in Jesus. But there is a greater reality: There is the resurrection. And in the resurrection there is no more forsaking, no more abandonment—only an intimate union with the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. The only way to this union, however, is through the cross. Very, very few will ever choose to go through the cross and suffer abandonment. Most will turn back because it is too much. It brings about death.

Yet only that which has died can be resurrected.

What will you choose to do?

Let us pray.

Comments

  1. That’s an easy one to answer: I’ve turned back again and again. I don’t have the grit to keep following him along that hard way. Once in a while, more or less frequently, I make a feeble gesture in the direction of following the way of the cross, but it’s mostly noise and false bravado. I know it and God knows it.

    But the funny thing is, every step I take backwards into what I think is a direction away from the cross has been turning out to be a further and deeper immersion into the way of the cross; it’s almost like God is dragging me along the way, or tricking (but God would never do anything as sneaky as tricking someone, now, would he?…would he?) me along the way.

    And now I’m like Macbeth, I think it’s Macbeth, who in midstream of his string of bloody murders sees that it would require as much bloodletting to go back to the innocent shore he left from as to go ahead to the farther shore which he intended to reach by his crimes, and so decides to bloodily push on to the farther shore. Finding myself “tricked” this far along the way of the cross, I look back and know that there would be as much suffering, and perhaps more, to go back the way I came, so I might as well continue along God’s inscrutable and tortuous way.

    God does not play fair in this work of redemption; for that, I suppose, there is cause to be grateful

  2. Aidan Clevinger says:

    This is absolutely beautiful. I love a good dose of 200-proof grace, especially in the context of our human weakness and suffering. Thank you so much for this extremely timely message, Jeff.

  3. Wow. Just . . . wow.

  4. When I found out my son died, I was expecting to feel God’s presence, his peace that passes understanding–I had heard plenty of testimonies from other Christians’ suffering to expect that as the norm. But I had such a profound sense of abandonment instead, and that is what drove to find and read books that could explain my experience, and eventually led me to Internet Monk .

    I determined that being abandoned by God is the result of an all powerful God restraining himself from divine intervention; when the angels who guard us are asked to step back.

    I think the earthquake and the darkness at Jesus’s death show the anguish of God the father directed at something other than those killing his son. When my son died, I would have shaken the earth and darken the sun if I could.

    • I had the same eperience when my Mum died. I have found no explanation yet for my experience. What books did you read? All I feel is played with so far.

      • I could relate to Mother Teresa’s biography Come Be my Light (I’m not Catholic) and Lament for a Son had some really good sections.

        I really hated any devotional that was specific to grief, though. Didn’t make it through a single one.

        I also read the account of Jesus’ death on the cross much differently–the forsaken, as in this homily, and of course I questioned the atonement theories that come along with the death of Jesus. Also, the Book of Job, Psalm 88, and Ecclesiastes were the only books of the Bible I could read.

  5. Yes, I think AP spoke to you from the heart of Jesus. (!)

    The trajectory of Ps. 22 is not so much abandonment as what it is God’s faithfulness in deliverance. Though our Brother on the cross did experience an absence of our Father, yet his love and trust was such to commit himself to no other. What mystery.

    Thank you Jeff.

  6. God does not leave us. He is always there. We get so wrapped up in our own wants and desire for comfort and our idea of peace that we so often are faithless and don’t see Him. But He is there.

    “I will never leave you nor forsake you and I will be with you until the end of time.”

    I find that a great comfort in times when I refuse to believe.

    • Jeff Dunn says:

      So is that why Jesus cried out on the cross that God had forsaken him? Because he was wrapped up in his own ideas of comfort and peace? Steve, please don’t throw religious cliches at those who are facing despair and darkness. Perhaps it would be better if you just sat back and listened. We are all glad you don’t know the abandonment of God. Some of us are on a different course.

      • I know the abandonment of my own faith.

        God does not leave you. What kind of a father leaves his kids?

        God forsake Jesus because he took on our sin and because he had to die. But in Christ we have One who takes on our sin.

        I do the abandonment of comfort and happiness and success and health. But the abandonment of God?

        Never. Just as we are told by Jesus, so it is that He will never abandon us.

        And by the way, Jeff, it is called Holy Scripture the gospel Word (my quote)…not a “religious cliche”.

      • If you are correct, Jeff, then we shouldn’t be glad to know that Steve doesn’t know the abandonment of God (if he in fact doesn’t), because according to your post only those who experience the abandonment of God and choose to walk the way of the cross to death will experience the intimate union with the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit in the resurrection.

        Rather, we should pray that Steve and all others experience the abandonment of God and choose the way of the cross that leads to death, and thereby experience intimate union with the Holy Trinity in the resurrection, even though we know that most of them will not, should we not?

      • Jeff, I would be interested in knowing how you reconcile this “abandonment of God” with verses like Hebrews 13:5 or Romans 8:38-39. There are things that Jesus did in his life and on the cross and up from the grave that we will never do (and can’t do!) for the sake of our redemption.

  7. I believe Adam was quoting Jurgen Moltmann even if he didn’t realize it. 🙂

    “When God becomes man in Jesus of Nazareth, he not only enters into the finitude of man, but in his death on the cross also enters into the situation of man’s godforsakenness. In Jesus he does not die the natural death of a finite being, but the violent death of the criminal on the cross, the death of complete abandonment by God. The suffering in the passion of Jesus is abandonment, rejection by God, his Father. God does not become a religion, so that man participates in him by corresponding religious thoughts and feelings. God does not become a law, so that man participates in him through obedience to a law. God does not become an ideal, so that man achieves community with him through constant striving. He humbles himself and takes upon himself the eternal death of the godless and the godforsaken, so that all the godless and the godforsaken can experience communion with him.”

    Jürgen Moltmann, The Crucified God: The Cross of Christ as the Foundation and Criticism of Christian Theology

    Seriously, the idea that God and Godforsakeness met at the cross is central to the way Moltmann does theology. God isn’t foreign to our suffering. In fact, because of the incarnation He understands it completely and goes through it with us.

  8. Thank you for these thoughtful and much need words this morning. I will be spending the day pondering them and the perfect timing of their arrival.

  9. ” I will NEVER leave you, nor forsake you.”

    We may not want to believe that He is still there beside us. But He is.

    • Steve, though I disagree with you in some matters, I agree that the death by cross that we must undergo to inherit the Kingdom of God is not one that can be measured by personal experience. That death may be to all observation hidden beyond the perception of human ken, or it may be manifest outwardly in dramatic ways, but it is not to be measured by our experience or compared with the experience of others. It is not co-extensive with depression, neither must we have the experience of painful abandonment by God to die the death and inherit the Kingdom. It is Jesus’ walking of the way and dying of the death that is effective, not ours; we can rest assured that we do not need to earn anything from our own decision or choice to inherit the kingdom that Jesus has won and prepared for us. That is the peace of God, and it truly passes all understanding, and all effort to attain.

    • I like what Luther said, that God is most present with us when He seems most absent. It’s the theology of the Cross, people.

  10. Jeff,
    When you say that the only way to “an intimate union with the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit,” which is only to be found in the resurrection, is “through the cross” but “Very, very few will ever choose to go through the cross and suffer abandonment. Most will turn back because it is too much. It brings about death” it sounds as if you are saying that very, very few people will be resurrected and/or live for eternity with God, or to put it in cruder terms, very, very few people will be residents of heaven. You also seem to be saying that it is only those who have the strength and courage to successfully undertake the way of the cross, which brings about death, who will attain to eternal life.

    The hardness of this task seems to contradict the posts you’ve written in the past about how the only thing required is trust in Jesus, who has done all the work; and about how you now see God not as a cosmic tyrant who is forever finding ways to test people and separate those who pass from those who fail, but as a God of fatherly love who goes out of his way to include more people than we can possibly imagine in his eternal Kingdom. But if the way of the cross results in “very, very few” people ever reaching eternal life in the Kingdom, because they don’t have the strength to go by way of the cross, then how can such a God be a God of inclusive love?

    I don’t understand how to harmonize the two different images I’m getting from my reading of your posts; perhaps I’m interpreting incorrectly. Do you believe that many people will be gifted with eternal life without going by way of the cross, but only a few will be resurrected because they have been the only ones to walk the way of the cross? Is there an inner and outer circle in heaven, or in the Kingdom, differentiating those who have gone the way of the cross and those who haven’t? Or do you simply believe that the vast, vast majority of humanity will be lost to eternal life in the Kingdom because they were unwilling to walk the hard walk, and die the painful death, required to follow the way of the cross?

    • Aidan Clevinger says:

      I think Jeff’s two statements are absolutely reconcilable. The only thing required to reach eternal life and the resurrection is to trust in Christ. And yet, trusting in Christ is going to bring the cross; suffering, despair, persecution, depression, anxiety, whatever form it may take from person to person, because the world and our flesh and the devil are all hostile to faith and hate it. Few will reach eternal life because many, having endured that suffering, will abandon their faith and reject Christ in favor of comfort.

      The idea of few people reaching Heaven is taken straight from the Gospels. “Fear not, little flock; it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the Kingdom”; “Narrow is the way and straight is the gate that leads to life, and few find it”. Both of these statements are absolutely true, and both came from the mouth of our Lord.

    • I think there’s a lot thing in Christianity that are paradoxical, and if we try to resolve them completely, we end up missing some truth. For example, Christ said “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” But He also said’ “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.” On the surface of it, these things could be seen as contradictory. But it does take a dying to ourselves to experience freedom.

      So on one hand, I think realizing that Christ has done everything is essential. On the other hand, it doesn’t mean that it makes it necessarily easy to follow Him. As far as how this relates to how many will be saved in the end, I have no idea.

    • No, Robert. As I wrote last week, God does not look for ways to keep people out of heaven, he is vastly creative in how he rescues us and brings us to himself. Yet Jesus tells us all to pick up our cross and follow him. He fed 5,000 men and those were all excited about him, but he only had a handful who were willing to go with him when he said things like “eat my flesh and drink my blood” or “pick up your cross and follow me.”

      If we do not go thru the abandonment of the cross now, perhaps that is what Purgatory is for.

      I am not saying we are to look for suffering. That would be the height of foolishness. I’m saying when we feel abandoned by God, we are in the company of Jesus.

      • Although I’m reluctant to use the word purgatory, along with you I believe that redemption continues to be worked out in the postmortem state, partly because I have no idea how time relates to eternity. What I think would be wrong to suggest is that a Christian should be anxious about never having an acute psychological experience of the abandonment of God, as if such an experience is necessary to guarantee that one is on the right road to God. Even so great a mystic as St. John of the Cross did not say that the felt experience of the abandonment of God, which he called the Dark Night of the Soul, and which was definitely not the same as depression or even the Dark Night of the Senses (he had a very specific taxonomy for the spiritual stages), was necessary to be assured of the work of redemption taking place in one’s life. It was enough for him that a Christian believe in the doctrines taught by the church and avail him or herself of the sacramental life and preaching embodied in the church. He was most definitely very suspicious of using psychological states as an index of where one was on the spiritual path. And that is my concern in my comments. We do not need to judge our authenticity as Christians, as followers of Jesus Christ, by measuring the extent of our suffering against some objective criteria or comparing it the with the experience of others.

    • But if the way of the cross results in “very, very few” people ever reaching eternal life in the Kingdom, because they don’t have the strength to go by way of the cross, then how can such a God be a God of inclusive love?

      The cross demonstrates God’s inclusive love, making it possible for more people to reach eternal life in the Kingdom.

      “For God so loved the world…”

  11. Everyone, believers and unbelievers alike, endure hardship and suffering in this world.

    Let’s resist the temptation to set ourselves up as some paragons of Christian virtue because we suffer and ‘feel abandoned’ by God.

    • Aidan Clevinger says:

      That’s true, but there is a difference between the suffering of believers and unbelievers, in that the former are joined to Christ and the latter are not. Therefore the former are participating in His sufferings, the sufferings of those who are rejected by the world and attacked by Satan, while the latter are participating in the sufferings common to all men since the Fall. Granted that we also know and experience that common kind of suffering, and we should show sympathy and compassion for those who do, but to suggest that the hardship of believers and unbelievers is the same thing is to run square against Christ in the Gospels.

      I agree with you that we shouldn’t set ourselves up as paragons of virtue because we suffer. But: 1. I don’t think that’s what Jeff was doing, and 2. The value of suffering isn’t that it makes us virtuous, or reveals our character, but rather that it reveals our weakness and poverty and drives us to Jesus for everything.

      • To suggest that all the hardships of believers are participation in the sufferings of Christ is also to square against Christ in the gospels. Some sufferings of believers are only the result of sharing a common lot with the rest of humanity.

  12. I used to think that Jesus was quoting Psalm 22. Turns out, he wasn’t quoting it at all. It was quoting him.

    • +1.

    • I’m glad you brought that up, ChrisS. I mentioned in a Sunday class once about Jesus “quoting” Ps22 and was gently corrected by a clergy friend who said roughly the same as you, that Jesus was not quoting but fulfilling it, living it.

      • Yes, as per Jeff’s post, one who is suffering is not mentally and emotionally removed; is not considering the education of those around them or what historical ramifications his words may have.The incomprehensible thing that was going on inside Jesus at that moment is what spurred him to his desperate cry. It was abandonment with the strength of eternity, unvarnished. Now he is eternally able, as a counterpole to that, to secure his own. Nevertheless, it is through much tribulation that we approach the unapproachable, the thick darkness where God is. It’s just a tough business and the servant is not greater than his master.

  13. For just as the Messiah’s sufferings overflow into us, so through the Messiah our encouragement also overflows. So if we undergo trials, it is for your encouragement and deliverance; and if we are encouraged, that should encourage you when you have to endure sufferings like those we are experiencing.

    (2 Corinthians 1:5- 6)

  14. Christiane says:

    On the question of ‘abandonment’, here is one Catholic point of view:
    ” Jesus was quoting Psalm 22, a messianic psalm that vividly describes the agony the suffering servant would endure. God the Father did not abandon his Son in his Son’s suffering but allowed him in his humanity to experience the sense of divine abandonment that humans often feel during times of need, and especially when in sin. Just as we often feel that God has abandoned us when we are suffering (even though this isn’t the case), so the Son of God in his humanity experienced that.aspect of human suffering as well. He died for our sins, and the weight of those sins—and thus the feeling of abandonment—must have been exceedingly heavy at that point.
    By quoting this psalm, Jesus shows that he is the fulfillment of that prophecy and that he will be vindicated, which is evident in the psalm’s triumphant ending.”
    http://www.catholic.com/quickquestions/do-jesus-words-from-the-cross-my-god-my-god-why-have-you-forsaken-me-mean-that-god-th

    I tend to agree with this point of view myself.

    For those who suffer from depression and a deep sense of isolation from God, there is also this in Scripture:
    7 ” Where can I go from Your Spirit?
    Or where can I flee from Your presence?
    8 If I ascend to heaven, You are there;
    If I make my bed in Sheol,
    behold, You are there.…” (from Psalm 139)

    There are different points of view on the meaning of Christ’s words from the Cross. I can respect that there are differences . . . if anyone has ever experienced a serious depression, even for a short time, they will know something of Our Lord’s pain, and they can be reassured that He most certainly understands their own.

    The word ‘Emmanuel’ means ‘God with us’ . . . at least those words bring us together around Him.

  15. Vega Magnus says:

    I’ve experienced depression caused by spiritual despair that made me feel abandoned by God, but in reality, He was always there. It was my own arrogance, pride, and gnostic beliefs at the time that made me feel as I did. I think abandonment by God is when he allows us to experience our own human failings instead of bailing us out of them rather than it is that He truly ignores us. We are never really alone. Jesus was abandoned by God on the cross so that we would never have to be.

    • Exactly right.

      The Word of God assures us that through it all…the winning and the losing…our Lord is there with His steadfast love.

      “Hesed”…the most common word in the Old Testament to describe God.

      Steadfast love.

      • We could never endure what Jesus did on the cross because we have only a human nature, whereas he also had a divine nature; if God were truly to abandon us, we would be finished without return. Jesus could rise because he was both divine and human, he could be raised because he was both human and divine.

        Carrying our own cross means accepting that which we suffer because of our identification with Jesus Christ, because of being found in him. Indeed, nothing can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus; he endured that separation so that we would not need to endure it. Which is not to say that we may not feel that he has abandoned us; though we may feel as if he has, though, he has not. He is with us always, even to the end of the age.

  16. For St John of the Cross, that great master of contemplative prayer, the experience of being abandoned by God, which he called the Dark Night of the Soul, was a gift bestowed on Christians who had advanced far along the path of prayer, having experienced the great closeness of God and the sense of his caring and loving companionship along the way. The purpose of the Dark Night was to strip the Christian of his or her dependence on the mere gifts of God, which are his creatures and not him, and which the Christian who has had great intimacy with God in prayer can desire more than they desire him. In the Dark Night of the Soul, the individual would learn to apprehend God in the nakedness of faith, without relying on the creaturely gifts of God, and have direct experience of him rather than mediated experience. Nowhere does John suggest that such experience in this life is necessary to enter the Kingdom of God, and nowhere does he make it necessary for salvation. The Dark Night of the Soul is for those who wish to continue to advance along the path of prayer in this life, and it does result in great purification for those who pursue it; but he warned against making this path a requirement for those unprepared for and not desiring it, neither did he believe that all Christians should desire it in this life

    • Ahh, the great Engineer of Christian mysticism and the contemplative life… I also did a study on the Ascent of Mount Carmel, heavy stuff. Nice description Robert…..

  17. Mother Theresa reports something like the abandonment of God, the dark night of the soul, in her memoirs, which I have not read. I need to do that.

  18. We Christians ought live a life of ‘no expectations’. And accept whatever comes our way…good or bad…with faith. The faith that trusts that God is at work for His purposes in all of it.

    Those who walk by sight…and not by faith can easily believe that God has abandoned them.

    I’m here to tell you that He hasn’t. I believe this because it is a gospel promise. Our Lord isn’t like us. He’s not a liar.

    • Final Anonymous says:

      Steve, the tone of your comments today seems awfully condescending and dismissive, especially considering the author (and some of the commentors) have revealed their struggles with the medical condition of depression.

      Jeff wrote about a concept that, in the midst of despair, brought him comfort and hope. You’ve responded with implications of selfishness, whining, exaggeration of problems and/or suffering, and faithlessness. Surely that wasn’t your intention?

      • Read Jeff’s first comment to me up near the top of this thread and tell me who has set the tone.

        It’s never my intention to make light of anyone’s struggles in life. Lord knows I have my share…we all do. But we just cannot blithely alter the Word of God to suit some wrongheaded understanding of God and His Word.

        And what purpose does it serve to tell Christians that their Lord abandons them in their struggles? No good purpose that I can see. It only serves to weaken faith in Him.

      • Steve, you can speak for yourself, but I hope you will excuse me if I add my two cents in the interim: what it seems to me that Steve is trying to do is assert that the authenticity of someone’s faith should not be measured by the felt experience of abandonment by God, and that there can be a kind of subtle ego-inflation involved in thinking that our suffering such a feeling of abandonment means that we are walking the way of the cross to God while others obviously aren’t because they are not suffering such an experience.

        Jeff did not simply write about a concept that brought him comfort in the midst of despair; he also threw his concept out to the rest of us as a litmus test for whether or not we cut the mustard as inheritors of the Kingdom of God. There are others of us out here who suffer from depression (I might count myself among them), and some of us are certainly not helped by having the authenticity of our faith challenged because we find ourselves unable to interpret our very human suffering as a sign of divine approbation. His challenge to authenticate our faith by claiming depression as evidence of being especially close to God privileges him and disqualifies us, and others, unable to make a similar claim. For someone like me, that deepens my depression rather than alleviating it. I cannot accept the terms of that challenge, and do not see why I shouldn’t voice my objections to it.

        • Steve, the verse you quoted is good, that God will never leave us nor forsake us. But the fact is, Jesus felt that the Father had left him and forsaken him. I don’t know if God did forsake him or if Jesus “merely” felt that way, but the Apostles’ Creed states that Jesus descended into hell, implying that God did forsake him at least for a time. And, paradoxically, if we take one bible verse seriously (never leave nor forsake) why should we not take seriously Jesus’ words on the cross, that God had indeed forsaken him? Tough questions.

          Please be very careful with victims of depression who are struggling with faith, even with life. Easy answers don’t help.

          • Ted,

            I have bouts of depression from time to time, myself. I have nothing but the greatest empathy for those who suffer from illnesses of mind or body.

            Whatever happened with Jesus and God is one thing. But our Lord Jesus has made promises to us that He will always keep. And those promises are meant to give us assurance and keep us in faith.

            It’s not helpful to discount gospel statements of assurance because of the way we may or may not ‘feel’ at any given moment in our walk of faith.

          • Ted, we need to be equally careful with describing super human feats that Christ accomplished on his cross with our own experiences. I don’t know how you can equate the abandonment Jesus experienced on the cross with our feelings of separation with God on account of our fallen nature and doubts.

          • Thanks, Steve and Brad. I’ll have to ponder this. It’s hard to understand how Jesus could feel abandonment and yet we must not. He was tempted in every way as we are, yet without sin, and somehow I’m hearing that if we feel abandonment then it’s a sin, a lack of faith, and we should know better.

          • Ted,

            I never said or implied that we don’t or won’t “feel” abandoned.

            The point is that God does NOIT abandon us…ever.

    • “You should not believe your conscience and your feelings more than the word which the Lord who receives sinners preaches to you.” ? Martin Luther

  19. Bill Metzger says:

    Right on, Aiden. I’m learning to embrace the pain rather than fight it. I’ve also been thanking God for all suffering as it drives me back to the Suffering Servant on the Cross. Jesus’ wounds truly do heal!

  20. Loved the post.

    Sorry if this question has already been asked, but who painted the illustration for this post? I love it and would like to credit it. It expresses so much of the Christian experience.

    Leslie

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

      I have seen a lot of crucifixes, from realistic to minimalist, and that one on top has just enough minimalism to be genuinely disturbing. It’s kind of like a crucifix version of that famous impressionist/surrealist piece “The Scream”, in-your-face with the raw emotion and pain and suffering of the scene without actually “showing” any details.

    • I right-clicked the painting and found that it’s by “kim” and then googled it. Here’s the info:

      Eloi, Eloi, lama Sabachthani?
      by Ann Kim
      Oil Stick on canvas, 1998, 50″ x 70″

      http://www.ecva.org/exhibition/feasts/Kim1.html

  21. Jeff- I hear you.

    My heart, my faith both crumbled when I felt that God had abandoned me, it seemed/seems as if I

    was/am being smothered by thick darkness. I ache for you.

    I relate to this: But if I go to the east, he is not there;

    if I go to the west, I do not find him.

    When he is at work in the north, I do not see him;

    when he turns to the south, I catch no glimpse of him.

    And just in case anyone wants to point out the following verse about coming forth as gold.

    there is some hope in that…

    ezk says:
    August 18, 2013 at 8:23 am
    “I think the earthquake and the darkness at Jesus’s death show the anguish of God the father directed at something other than those killing his son. When my son died, I would have shaken the earth and darken the sun if I could.”

    While reading your comment, tears, hot tears of compassion welled up, in that moment, sympathy filled me and I thought of Jesus weeping at the tomb of Lazarus. I can not imagine losing a child. I know I don’t know you, so I hope it doesn’t sound trite when I say how sorry I am that you buried your boy.

    • Wait… what?

      • Radagast- Not sure if your comment “Wait… what?” is in response to my post, if not disregard this.

        ezk posted at 8:23 am: ezk says:
        August 18, 2013 at 8:23 am

        When I found out my son died, I was expecting to feel God’s presence, his peace that passes understanding–I had heard plenty of testimonies from other Christians’ suffering to expect that as the norm. But I had such a profound sense of abandonment instead, and that is what drove to find and read books that could explain my experience, and eventually led me to Internet Monk .

        I determined that being abandoned by God is the result of an all powerful God restraining himself from divine intervention; when the angels who guard us are asked to step back.

        I think the earthquake and the darkness at Jesus’s death show the anguish of God the father directed at something other than those killing his son. When my son died, I would have shaken the earth and darken the sun if I could.”

        My heart breaks for ekz. Christ have mercy. Lord have mercy.

        • Gail,

          Yes to you – thought you were addressing Jeff and his losing a son (misunderstood)… understand your comments now in the light of what you wrote.

          Second, My heart goes out to you, as a father of a tribe of kids Iosing any would be like losing a piece of myself…

          Third, I suspect that more people go through a feeling of abandonment rather than a feeling of God’s presence, I would believe it would take my wife and I holding very tightly to each other to maintain the focus not to lash out at God… I don’t believe I could be that strong myelf… at least initially.

          There are some Christians that feel they need to keep the mask in tact even in the face of tragedy (testimonies from other Christians comment), luckily I don’t suffer from that.