Easter is a busy holiday for us. It's the holiday when Jen's family and our friends come to our house to celebrate. And, this year it's really busy, because this is our month to host our little group that fellowships together on Sunday. So we've got fellowshippers here in the morning, and family here in the afternoon. (Yes, they're coming in shifts!)
In all the preparation it's easy for me to lose sight of what Easter is all about. This year one theme has really dominated my thoughts about Easter. It's the realization that God is present, even in the worst circumstances of my life.
I've always struggled with the idea that the Father abandoned Jesus while on the cross. Jesus quotes from Psalm 22, "My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?" Growing up, I always heard that at that time, the Father, who can't tolerate sin, turned away from His son, who had become sin for us.
What kind of father abandons his boy at the lowest point in his son's life? What does that say to us about how we view the Father? If He'll turn away from His own Son, will He do the same to us?
I'm not sure that's the right way to look at this passage. First, we know that 2 Corinthians 5 says that God was in Christ, reconciling the world to Himself. That indicates that the Father was there the whole time. We also know that Jesus felt everything we feel, and was tempted in every way we are. It's clear in Psalm 22 that God hasn't abandoned the writer of the psalm. He's there, present and working, the whole time. But the psalmist FEELS abandoned sometimes.
Have you ever felt abandoned by God? I have. But I realize now that even in those times, God was there. Just like He was during the crucifixion. And not just observing, but working on my behalf, even the worst things that have happened in my life. I think that's what Jesus was saying. My friend Cap was right: Jesus quotes from Psalm 22 to point the hearers, and us, to that Scripture. So that we could see from God's perspective what was happening.
So that's what I'm learning this Easter. That God is always here, He's always loving His kids, and He's powerful enough to turn enough horrible events into something that glorifies Him and benefits us...