Guest / Limited Access /
And when the sixth hour had come, there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour. And at the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, "Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?" which means, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" —Mark 15:33-34, ESV

Here Jesus speaks a word we could have spoken. Not always, not everywhere. But there are times when this word has become our word, words he may have taken right out of our mouths: "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?"

Sometimes this word remains unspoken, but the sentiment is a steady reality. There is no great anguish. There are no tears. There is just the daily, ongoing experience of God's absence. We don't feel God's presence in prayer or worship, but we still go through the motions. We read the Bible faithfully, but gain no flashes of inspiration. This reality has become such a part of our lives we don't panic. We recognize that extraordinary spiritual experiences are few and far between and that we live in vast stretches of between. We wouldn't quite say we're forsaken, but neither would we say God is a living reality. But at the end of another dreary day of divine absence, when we turn out the bed lamp and lie still in the dark, waiting for sleep to overtake us, we wonder, Why don't I experience God more?

Sometimes the experience of God-forsakenness is much more keen. You are at a place of deep and profound need. You are staring into the face of death. Or your spouse is. Or your child is. Or you've lost a job or are about to lose a marriage. Or you are losing your faith. But whatever the crisis, it is a crisis. My God, you hang on a cross, and it's excruciating, and this would be an awfully good time for God to show up, to prove that your faith is not ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

SoulWork
In "SoulWork," Mark Galli brings news, Christian theology, and spiritual direction together to explore what it means to be formed spiritually in the image of Jesus Christ.
Mark Galli
Mark Galli is Editor of Christianity Today in Carol Stream, Illinois.
Previous SoulWork Columns:
Support Christian thought journalism. Donate to our nonprofit ministry today.
Read These NextSee Our Latest
Current IssueInvestments for the Kingdom
Subscriber Access Only
Investments for the Kingdom
Eventide Funds has confounded the investment world with its success—and it’s biblically based principles.
Recommended
Subscriber Access Only 'The Purpose of Christmas'
An excerpt on "A Time for Celebration."
TrendingWhy Do We Have Christmas Trees?
Why Do We Have Christmas Trees?
The history behind evergreens, ornaments, and holiday gift giving.
Editor's PickThe Bible Never Says ‘All Men Are Created Equal’
The Bible Never Says ‘All Men Are Created Equal’
How the New Testament offers a better, higher calling than the Declaration of Independence.
Christianity Today
Mercifully Forsaken
hide thisAccess The Archives

In the Archives

April 2011

To continue reading, subscribe now for full print and digital access.