About three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” (which means, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”). Matthew 27:46
Praise God that Jesus passed through the valley of the shadow of death for us! And for him it was gloomier than it could possibly be for any human being. He felt abandoned even by God, and yet in his forsakenness he was still able to cry out, “My God! My God!”
Do you grasp how important it is not to let yourself feel abandoned by our dear Lord in hours of forsakenness? Our Savior cried, “Eli, Eli!” The Hebrew word consists of “El,” meaning “God,” and “i” meaning “my,” which is written as a mere dot or stroke. Yet with this tiny dot Jesus held on to the thread leading to his Father’s heart. Think of faith like a grain of mustard seed and remember what we are able to achieve with that, according to the Lord’s
In deep anguish Jesus fought his way through to faith. In so doing he became our Savior. Therefore, we must “consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart” (Heb. 12:3). Because he came through the valley of death, he can guide us through it too. “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me”
Our burdened conscience wants to rob us of his comfort. That can indeed make it hard! And yet, Christ shed his blood for us. Hence even our own bad conscience need no longer take our courage away, as long as we hold on to him. “Your rod and your staff, they comfort me.” What a rod and staff Jesus can be for us!
While we are on our pilgrimage here on earth, the path goes constantly through deadly need. Comforted by Jesus’ own struggle, let us pursue our road in unruffled tranquility, even though we are harried, tormented, and set upon in many ways. He is our blessed hope (Tit. 2:13). At all cost let us hold on to him, the Crucified and Risen One. Let us take him as a rod to walk with and a staff to lean on. And go ever onwards. He leads us to the glory of his kingdom.
Johann Christoph Blumhardt