This Good Friday we will hear Jesus cry out “My God, My God; why have you abandoned me?” He isn’t crying out against the unjust accusations or the horrible scourging or the fatal injuries suffered at the cruel hands of the Romans or the Jewish people as he walked to Calvary. Rather, He is agonized by feeling disconnected from God - his Heavenly Father. He feels it in the Garden of Gethsemane. He feels it throughout his ugly physical sufferings and rejections that led to his death. He yearns to hear and receive God’s reassurances and love but doesn’t. All he feels is pain; suffering and loss; disconnection, loneliness, abandonment, and betrayal. Yet he accepts this severe test of faith and obedience and willingly endures the test in order to “accomplish the will” of his Heavenly Father. He resists the human inclination to avoid any suffering.
We will also be asked to endure suffering within our own lifetime. Each test will vary with individuals in intensity and frequency; however, I believe that each experience will also be accompanied by feelings of abandonment and disconnection — just like Jesus experienced. And this will cause us to cry out: “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?” And for the same purpose and end. To prove that we love God freely and without strings.
We have all experienced events that sorely test our mettle. Some tests help us to realize that we are wholly unprepared. That should prompt us to shore up our spiritual and virtuous defenses now while feeling the Lord’s presence. Unfortunately our tests are not once and done — neither are they once or done as we sail through life. We will continue to be tested and probably found lacking in faith, hope and love all too frequently. And so we will be given more chances to prove our faith and love. Even the saints were tested often.
Each test is not simply the result of a random roll of the eternal dice. Rather each is tailored by God for our own sakes. They help us manifest Christ’s suffering for others [in and through our personal suffering]. They prove our willingness to die to self. They test our resolve to abandon the goods life [another way to define materialism and consumerism or personal attachments that distract us from loving God and others authentically] for the Good Life.
Each of us will have to walk our own Via Dolorosa. We will cry out as we go this path because we will also feel abandoned — at least temporarily. The walks will reveal how patient we are with God. It will reveal how much we desire His Will. It will reveal just how stubbornly we will cling to our own wills rather than God’s.
May you be blessed this Good Friday with deep insight into your personal good Friday’s that will come your way. Be re-assured by Jesus' Resurrection. Know that He loves you no matter what!