by Brian Whited, our Chaplain

GSH Staff, on this Good Friday, here is a devotion for you. Love you all. Keep up the good work. 

God is in control.  He owns the cattle on a thousand hills.  He knows each hair on our head.  But the world we live in is also chaotic and unpredictable.  And as I mentioned in the last devotion, God grants us the freedom to grieve the pain that sometimes come, to question the chaos we sometimes feel, and to always love those around us.  Today is Good Friday, the day where the church reflects upon the Crucifixion of Christ.  

I want us to know that God gives us the freedom to question in the midst of the chaos we sometimes feel.  And what better story to look at than the crucifixion.

From noon until three in the afternoon darkness came over all the land. About three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matthew 27)

You see it, right…Christ questions.  

And the implications are amazing.  The second person of the Trinity, willingly sent to a Cross, a Cross he didn’t deserve to be on because of the sins of others; the sin of Pilate’s refusal to lead; the sin of Peter to deny him three times; the sins of his countrymen who asked to free a criminal instead of Christ; the sins of you and me. It was a plan that the Trinity had decided upon from the foundations of the earth, to save and redeem broken people.

And yet on the Day of the Crucifixion things got real.  Christ was made to carry that heavy cross, the same cross that his body was pounded onto it.  And then his clothes carelessly gambled away to the soldiers enforcing his punishment, and then graffiti placed above his head, “King of the Jews.”  And then the voices, ohhh the voices.  Insults from criminals next to him on their own crosses, “Come down from the cross, if you are the Son of God!” And also the mocking jeers from the religious elite, “He’s the king of Israel! Let him come down now from the cross, and we will believe in him.”  If they only knew. 

In the midst of Christ’s sufferings, a darkness came over the land.  The entire creation felt the dread and horror of the moment. And the second person of the Trinity questioned, My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”  

And Christ did not forget His Father was in control.  Even as the Father turned his face from the Son.  The Son continued to cry out to His Father, My God, My God God was in control, the eternal plan was being played out. Christ knew the plan, but the question came, Why have you forsaken me?  Why must the eternal fellowship be broken in this moment.  Why the emptiness and pain?  Why did it have to be this way to save sinners?  Christ’s life was defined by prayer and receiving support and sustenance from the Father throughout his earthly life, but in this moment, the Father turned his face away.  And Christ cried out, Why? 

I have a few brief takeaways, but I do hope that we all would reflect upon the reality of the crucifixion, both the horror of it, but also the absolute love and beauty of it.  

The implications for us. We, too, have the freedom to question.  We will never endure what Christ endured, we can never repay and we are not called to repay.  Christ on the Cross was his free gift given to us that we receive through faith.  But we are called to join him in his sufferings.  And when we are there, in the midst of the chaos of COVID19 or the sufferings of life’s journey, we can know that we have the freedom to question.