WHY HAST THOU FORSAKEN ME?
WHY HAST THOU FORSAKEN ME?
By Haley Hilton
I’ve had a rough week.
Really that is an understatement, but we will just leave it at that.
In response to my rough week, I decided to turn to the Prince of Peace. I prayed earnestly and with real intent, read my scriptures and tried to serve others.
I wasn’t trying to fix what was so heavily burdening me. I have been weighed down for too long to even hope for that kind of respite.
I was praying for comfort. For hope. For peace. For ANYTHING.
Somehow, through it all, I felt nothing. My burden was not lightened, and my grief was not born. I was drowning–suffocating in my pain, and my Prince of Peace was not responding.
I felt confused and abandoned. I have been taught that the one being I can absolutely trust and rely on is my Heavenly Father. Why wasn’t he there? Was I doing something wrong? Was there a magic combination of righteous living that I was just a couple of degrees off of? I mean I am certainly not perfect, but I am doing my very best! What was I missing???
I talked to a good friend about it because I needed some helpful insight. She is a marriage and family therapist, and she used the knowledge gained from her profession to give me something interesting to think about. She said that when trust is broken in a marriage, the person on the receiving end experiences a very real trauma. Like physical trauma. It’s called betrayal trauma. She explained that there are times in our life when, because of our mortal understanding, it feels as though God is no longer listening. In those times, because so much of our identity and our belief system is rooted in his loving responsiveness, we experience betrayal trauma with God. Though he is likely still listening, and actively aware of our challenges, the perceived abandonment has an impact on our psyche and emotional well-being.
So what do we do about that?
I don’t know.
I really don’t, and it’s frustrating.
But I remember hearing once that God is ok with his children being frustrated with Him. He understands that our vision is limited, and that by design we will spend some days on the very bottom with frustration toward our maker. All he really cares about, is that we talk to him. He never wants us to stop reaching toward him, asking for his love, even when we aren’t at our best. Even, it seems, when we don’t feel that we are getting a response from Him.
It reminds me of a speech given by S. Mark Palmer where he teaches that even when we behave poorly, Christ first beholds us and loves us. Before all else! He loves us! He knows that if we continue to reach out to Him, eventually things will come back together.
“Anytime you feel you are being asked to do something hard, think of the Lord beholding you, loving you, and inviting you to follow Him,” Elder Palmer said.
Sometimes those hard things aren’t callings, or giving up sins, or moving mountains. Sometimes the hardest thing we will ever have to do, is believe and endure to the end.
Robert D. Hales once said, “In the last moments upon the cross Jesus asked His Father a very simple question: ‘Why hast thou forsaken me?’ (Matt. 27:46.) Are there times in our lives when we think that we have been forsaken by God, or by our fellow men, or by our families? That is the moment when we have to turn our thoughts back to Christ and endure to the end. We know there is a great purpose in Christ’s suffering because this was an act of free agency. Jesus could have called upon legions of angels to bring Him down from the cross, but He did not. He endured to the end that we would have the benefits of the atoning sacrifice.”
And so, on our weakest days when belief is hard to come by, may we follow the example of the Savior and continue to turn to the Lord—no matter where our testimony lands on the strength spectrum. God will behold, love us, and allow our suffering to be for our good and the good of others.
In the end, I have faith, things will get better.