I recently asked a group of teenagers whether they thought the life of a Christian was easier and more trouble-free. Without hesitation, one of them answered, “Yes!” Unfortunately, this is not the case. I took the opportunity to share the truth that we all face difficult days, giving examples from my own life. I warned them that the Bible even tells us that being a Christian can make life more difficult. Look at what happened to Jesus!
As I looked at their subdued faces I added, “But we don’t walk through any of those days alone—Christians walk with God.” As Psalm 23:4 says, “Even when I must walk through the darkest valley, I fear no danger, for you are with me; your rod and your staff reassure me.”
There is so much in this world that can lead us to ache and lament. It is right that we do so. We don’t need to gloss over our pain, and the Psalms can help us to be honest in our feelings. This world is not as it should be. And yet, we do not lament without hope, we do not lament without faith. We know the Lord.
Today’s Psalm shows us that the Lord understands pain, fear, and frustration. Jesus quoted the first verse of this Psalm on the cross. Every word would have been incredibly painful for Him—meaning He chose to quote this Psalm on purpose. He wanted to lead the thinking of those nearby to the rest of the words of this scripture.
I used to play a game at work where we tried to put a song into another person’s head. We would quietly hum or quote a line from a song in conversation and see how long it took someone else to start singing it! It helped us get through monotonous days because words of songs we know well often stick in our heads.
The Psalms were well-known songs by the Jewish people. They would have quickly recognized Jesus was quoting Psalm 22 and been aware of the rest of the Psalm. In fact, in Mark 15:33–36, after Jesus quoted the first line of this Psalm, they offered Him a drink, referring to Psalm 22:15.
This Psalm shows us that Jesus knew what it felt like to be insulted, despised, taunted, and mocked. There are so many amazingly accurate references to what was happening to Jesus on the cross, even the dividing of His clothes with rolling dice! Yet this Psalm does not end in hopelessness. From the words in verse 21, “You have answered me,” the whole Psalm changes direction. God is the Rescuer of those to cry out to Him, who acknowledge the Lord and turn to Him. The Lord is rightly praised and worshiped. He is the King ruling over all the nations. We see people from every nation serving Him and telling others about all He has done. The last verse of Psalm 22 says, “They will come and tell about his saving deeds; they will tell a future generation what he has accomplished.” Jesus has accomplished it. It is finished (see John 19:30), our Rescuer has died in our place.
There is so much in this world for us to lament over. Things happen and we don’t understand why. We question how so much pain and evil can prevail. Yet we know the nearness of the Lord who does not remain far away from us and is the source of our strength (Psalm 22:19). He understands our pain and He walks with us. We know God does not ignore the suffering of the oppressed. We can join in the celebration and worship of our loving God who has not treated us as our deeds deserve. We walk with God.
If you have time today, read Mark 15:21–39 and marvel at the connections to Psalm 22. While this Psalm was written by David hundreds of years before Jesus was on the cross, it was used to point those around Him—and us—to all He was accomplishing there for us.
As believers, our days won’t always be happy, contented ones. We will have days full of questions, pain, and lamenting, through which we often learn so much about God’s loving-kindness and grace. Many of the Psalms are filled with honesty and pain, but they also point to God being the source of our strength. It is ok to be honest with God and allow His Word to remind you of His love for you as He walks with you.
Have you heard? Our Trusting God in the Midst of Suffering Bible study is available to order!
Join us this spring as we study what it means to lament in a biblical way. We’ll discover how to respond to difficult circumstances, all while maintaining our faith in God and what He is able to do. We would love to have you join us for this important study!
Click the image below to find out more!
100% of the proceeds from your order go straight back to the ministry, helping us fight biblical illiteracy around the world and equip women with God’s Word in 40+ languages.
Thank YOU for your investment and support!
Read more about our mission and the languages we reach here.
More from Love God Greatly: