All humanity shares in the experience of suffering. The apostle Paul puts it like this, “For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now” (Romans 8:22). Life is hard. As followers of Christ, this should come as no surprise. If there is anyone who understands undeserved, agonizing suffering, it is Jesus Christ.

Matthew and Mark only record one saying of Jesus while He hangs on the cross: “And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, ‘Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?’ that is, ‘My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?’” (Matthew 27:46; Mark 15:34). Jesus takes these words from Psalm 22:1. In His worst moments, Jesus recalls the words of Psalm 22 because they spoke to His experience.

In Psalm 22, the psalmist is distressed. “O my God, I cry by day, but you do not answer, and by night, but I find no rest” (Psalm 22:2); “Be not far from me, for trouble is near, and there is none to help” (Psalm 22:11). Despite being in distress, the psalmist expresses his trust in the Lord, “I will tell of Your name to my brothers; in the midst of the congregation I will praise You” (Psalm 22:22) In fact, it is precisely because the psalmist trusts in God and knows God’s goodness and faithfulness that he is distressed by his suffering. The psalmist is asking in essence, “Because the Lord is so good and faithful, why am I suffering?”

Jesus’s crucifixion on the cross is the full embodiment of Psalm 22. His death models for us the tension of living in a world filled with both suffering and praise. In Jesus’s worst moments, He feels abandoned by God; yet His death on the cross is the ultimate expression of faithfulness to the Father’s plan.

Today, I will…live in the tension of the suffering in this world and yet I will be faithful to the Father’s will.