Now when the sixth hour had come, there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour. And at the ninth hour Jesus cried out .... “My God, My God, why have you Forsaken Me?” Mark 15:33-34 (NKJV)
One black, moonless night In Utah, I attended a social event in a hilltop house. Last to arrive and last to leave, I stepped out into a silhouette of Hades …. no street lights, no car lights, no stars.
Falling was not an attractive thought, so with arms stretched out, and feet edging along the side of the road, I avoided thinking about snakes, tarantulas, and wild animals by remembering the Lord’s promise of never leaving us. That assurance, and the knowledge that the car was nearby averted panic.
Looking back, I know my feelings were minimal in comparison with what Jesus felt while on the cross between noon and three p.m. The physical and metaphorical gloom of that ominous solar eclipse did not equal the isolation, abandonment and despair revealed by His words, “My God, My God, why have you forsaken Me?” Unable to sense the Father’s presence, Jesus headed into a trial of black nothingness. He had to have known that the Lord was there, but His experience of separation was more intense than that of anyone else who has ever lived. Christ is the only one ever forsaken by God. On earth, it is the other way around. People forsake God.
Because Christ endured the separation, took our punishment of being cast into outer darkness, we can claim the Lord’s promise of never leaving us. Resurrection frees us from darkness.
Lord, I praise you for loving us and for saving us from eternal darkness. Amen.
© V. Colclasure 2011