I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you.
– Hebrews 13:5
Failure is a human condition.
One month ago she climbed a silo at an abandoned concrete plant and jumped to her death. Before that day, twelve-year-old Rebecca Sedwick endured nearly a year of bullying by as many as fifteen girls in attacks that began at school and continued online after Sedwick’s parents removed her.
There had been warning signs. Last December, she was hospitalized after slitting her wrists. People knew she was sad. Her death and others like it have led to a rush of community soul-searching. Her mother wrote a birthday message on what would have been Sedwick’s thirteenth birthday, saying, “I feel like I failed….” *
Don’t we all? Every day and in many ways? We’re just flesh and blood; clay houses for the soul. We regularly fail ourselves; our God; each other.
Because we live with failure every day, it’s hard to comprehend a Father who never fails. Because we are guilty of desertion under fire, we can’t fathom a God who has promised to fight for us. Because we don’t understand His ways, we struggle to trust Him in the desperate hours when He seems to have abandoned us.
Have you prayed to God fervently, only to be met with silence?
Do you live with unremitting pain? Does it feel like nothing ever changes for the better?
Do you feel utterly alone in your crisis?
Jesus knew what it felt like to be forsaken.
At His execution there was no place for Him in either heaven or earth. On the cross He hung utterly alone, the object of the full wrath of God. It was not because His Father wanted to hurt Him, but because Father and Son and Spirit knew it was the only way to spare you.
Bloodied, bruised, and dying, covered with the filth of a billion sins, Jesus cried out:
My God, my God, why have you forsaken Me?
That is why you can never be forsaken by God. That possibility was taken away when Christ accepted God’s wrath upon His own head, borne out of His great love for you.
Because we live in a fallen world awaiting the final redemption, we still have sorrow. Life will be filled with trials as we complete our pilgrimage to the holy city awaiting us in heaven. God has promised that for those who accept the sacrifice of Christ, hardship works for our good, teaching us perseverance and compassion for others.
This should inspire us to reach out to those we see suffering in silence around us. No person should live without knowing the comfort of the Holy Spirit. It is up to us, His hands and feet and heart, to reach out with His love to those like Rebecca who are hurting today.
You are not forsaken. God has written this in His blood. Accept this, trust in His faithfulness, and share His comfort with others as you await the day you fully understand why.