My God, My God, Why Hast Thou Forsaken Me

Early Tuesday morning I was sobbing.

I held Von and rocked her back to sleep as I sobbed, praying in my mind and heart. I was overcome with exhaustion and felt overwhelmingly weary. I wanted relief.

I prayed that if the time was right, that God bring me back home to Him, because I was just feeling done. I sobbed and sobbed. I then prayed that it wasn’t my time, that if I’m needed here, that He give me strength, that He let me know that I wasn’t alone. I sobbed even harder as I said that prayer.

And then my darling baby, who I thought was sleeping, said “hi” I looked down at her face, seeing her eyes looking up at me in the moonlight. And then she said “hi” again. And of course I cried some more.

In that moment though, I realized that I was not alone.

I felt God’s love surround me and I remembered my purpose as a mother and a daughter and as a child of God. And for that moment, I knew I wasn’t alone, because of Christ.

Reading about his lonely path to death was so hard for me this week. And as I read the chapters on Monday, again and again it stood out to me when Christ says “My God, My God, Why Hast Thou Forsaken Me” I continued to think about this thought throughout the week and along with my own experience I had in the wee hours of the morning.

I was reminded of the talk that Elder Holland gave called None Were With Him, when he shared about the Savior’s lonely journey at the end. How He was completely and utterly alone. Elder Holland says:

Now I speak very carefully, even reverently, of what may have been the most difficult moment in all of this solitary journey to Atonement. I speak of those final moments for which Jesus must have been prepared intellectually and physically but which He may not have fully anticipated emotionally and spiritually—that concluding descent into the paralyzing despair of divine withdrawal when He cries in ultimate loneliness, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?”

The loss of mortal support He had anticipated, but apparently He had not comprehended this. Had He not said to His disciples, “Behold, the hour … is now come, that ye shall be scattered, every man to his own, and shall leave me alone: and yet I am not alone, because the Father is with me” and “The Father hath not left me alone; for I do always those things that please him”?

With all the conviction of my soul I testify that He did please His Father perfectly and that a perfect Father did not forsake His Son in that hour. Indeed, it is my personal belief that in all of Christ’s mortal ministry the Father may never have been closer to His Son than in these agonizing final moments of suffering. Nevertheless, that the supreme sacrifice of His Son might be as complete as it was voluntary and solitary, the Father briefly withdrew from Jesus the comfort of His Spirit, the support of His personal presence. It was required, indeed it was central to the significance of the Atonement, that this perfect Son who had never spoken ill nor done wrong nor touched an unclean thing had to know how the rest of humankind—us, all of us—would feel when we did commit such sins. For His Atonement to be infinite and eternal, He had to feel what it was like to die not only physically but spiritually, to sense what it was like to have the divine Spirit withdraw, leaving one feeling totally, abjectly, hopelessly alone.

…because Jesus walked such a long, lonely path utterly alone, we do not have to do so.

Because of Him, we are not forsaken. Because of Him, we continually have access to God through prayer and the Spirit. We are not alone because of Him.

In our hard moments, when we feel as though we are drowning and crying out for rescue, we can know that the Master is ready to pull us to safety, To embrace us and let us know that we are not on this path alone.

I’ve struggled with this a lot in my life, I struggled with it even this week. But in almost the moment after I felt abandoned and lost and praying for relief of any kind, I felt peace and hope and love. We do not have to walk this life alone. God has not forsake us. He is with us always, but sometimes we need to reach out to Him for us to know that.