Anyone that has been a Believer for any length of time has felt the hopelessness, pain, loneliness, and despair that comes from the feeling that God has forsaken them.
If I asked you, "Have you ever felt forsaken by God?", you may give me the "religious" answer and say, "Oh, no! Not me! I have NEVER felt that!" But the candid truth is that we all feel it at some time and in some circumstance. It is almost a universal experience among Believers.
While going through a particularly difficult time in my life about ten years ago, I remember walking outside at night, looking up at the stars, and shouting in my "outside voice", "Lord, where are you?" I could hardly see the stars for the tears. I felt so abandoned, forsaken, alone. And that was not the first time.
God didn't part the heavens and shine a ray of heavenly light around me. He didn't speak in an audible voice and calm my fears and soothe my pain. He didn't come down in a bodily form and touch me. He didn't even send an angel! He didn't do anything! There was no response from Him that I could see, feel, touch, discern, or comprehend.
I went back inside, still feeling abandoned, but there was something down deep inside of me that would not give in to the acceptance that I was truly abandoned by Him. He had promised never to leave or me forsake me. That was His PROMISE! If I believed anything, I had to believe that it was true, especially at that time.
My situation didn't change for some time -- but I did. During that time, I grew greatly in my relationship with God. I grew in my trust and faith in Him. I grew in my dependence on His absolute faithfulness to do all that He had promised, no exceptions, no conditions.
I really didn't care what He had to do to fulfill what He had promised. It was His responsibility to do what He said. My only responsibility was to believe Him.
From that painful and difficult time, I learned that the feelings of abandonment were real. The feelings of being completely and utterly forsaken were real. The feelings of pain and despair were real. But they were only feelings -- they were not reality. The abandonment was not real. The forsaking was not real. God had not forsaken me. I only FELT that He had.
I then realized that Jesus felt the same thing on the cross. He cried out, as I did that night, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?"
Had God forsaken His only Son on the cross, the Son He loved, His One and Only? NO! Had He done so, He would have violated His character, His promises, His very nature. God was there, with Him all the time. He never left Him for a moment. But Jesus FELT that He had been abandoned by the Father who loved Him.
Jesus was "one of us". He had the same feelings, emotions, and weaknesses that we have. He felt what we feel. And in that moment on the cross, He felt abandoned and forsaken. But those were only feelings.
If Jesus felt forsaken and abandoned, it is OK for you and me to admit to Him that we feel it at times also.
When Jesus felt forsaken, He didn't give up. He didn't abandon His Father in a response of anger or bitterness. Instead, He poured those feelings out to His Father, because even through the pain, He knew His Father would hear him, whether or not He felt Him.
When you feel forsaken by God, remember Jesus' words, and know that, while the feelings may be real, the "forsaking" is not. Pour those feelings out to God. Don't hold anything back! He is "big enough" to take whatever you may express.
G. Randall Vaughn