Summary: As we travel the highway of life, all may be well until the ground opens beneath us and we plunge into a sinkhole of doubt and despair.
ESCAPING THE SINKHOLES OF LIFE
Picture yourself driving through rolling hills covered with green grass and fields of multicolored wild flowers. In the distance are snow-capped mountain peaks, and fluffy clouds. Life is good. Suddenly, your car begins to shake and rattle, as if all four tires have blown. Before you can pull over, the earth beneath you collapses and you are hurled into sinkhole and find yourself shrouded in rubble and darkness.
This scenario is symbolic of life’s journey to eternity. Life, which may seem so good, can suddenly turn into a pit of doubt and despair.
It happened to David when he departed from the path of righteousness to commit adultery with Bathsheba and murder her husband in an attempt to hide the dastardly deed.
It happened to Job when Satan was allowed to strip Job of everything except his life and his wife, whom Satan spared to speak for him: "Are you still maintaining your integrity? Curse God and die!" (Job 2:9).
It happened to Elijah, who after successfully going head-to-head with 450 prophets of Baal, received a message from Jezebel that she had a contract out on him. He retreated to the desert, saying, “I have had enough, LORD." Take my life; I am no better than my ancestors” (1 Kgs 19:4). He who had stood fearlessly before 450 prophets of Baal, quivered at the word of a woman.
No power, not even Satan, can separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus (cf. Rom 8:35-39), but Satan is good at causing us to doubt, rather than coming boldly to the throne of grace where there is mercy and grace (cf. Heb 4:16).
Whether we have foolishly played into Satan’s hand as did David, or Satan is trying to shake our faith as with Job and Elijah, we may cry out with David,
My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?
Why are you so far from saving me,
so far from my cries of anguish?
My God, I cry out by day, but you do not answer,
by night, but I find no rest (Psa 22:1-2).
The Plaintive Cry of a Troubled Soul
Do we stress the “why,” meaning that we know of no hidden sin in our lives that might be the cause of our suffering? Or, do we place the emphasis on the “you,” meaning I am not surprised that others have forsaken me, but why you?
Job may have emphasized the “why me?”
“What is man that You magnify him,
And that You are concerned about him,
That You examine him every morning
And try him every moment?
“Will You never turn Your gaze away from me,
Nor let me alone until I swallow my spittle?
“Have I sinned? What have I done to You,
O watcher of men?
Why have You set me as Your target,
So that I am a burden to myself? (Job 7:17-20)
Elijah may have emphasized the “why you?”
Now Ahab told Jezebel all that Elijah had done, and how he had killed all the prophets with the sword. Then Jezebel sent a messenger to Elijah, saying, “So may the gods do to me and even more, if I do not make your life as the life of one of them by tomorrow about this time.” And he was afraid and arose and ran for his life and came to Beersheba, which belongs to Judah, and left his servant there. But he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a juniper tree; and he requested for himself that he might die, and said, “It is enough; now, O LORD, take my life, for I am not better than my fathers” (1 Kgs 19:1-4.
Jesus, when he cried out “My God, My God, why have your forsaken me?” (Matt 27:46), was not being swallowed up by either chance or his own bad choices, Quite to the contrary, it was a deliberate choice made with the Father that moved Jesus to plunge into the chasm of death so that he might rescue us.
[Jesus], being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death—even death on a cross! (Phil 2:6-8).
Transition: Matthew says, “And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice, and yielded up his spirit (Matt 27:50). Luke tells us what he said, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit,” and having said this, he breathed his last. We must live before we die, so when we cry out to God and yield our lives to him, he gives us….