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2BC BLOG

Holy Week Devotional - Good Friday by Steve Hemphill

GOOD FRIDAY APRIL 14
TENEBRAE SERVICE 7:30

Psalm 22

“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”
                            Psalm 22:1

It was a Good Friday I’ll never forget. I was strapped into the C130 (cargo) flight from Baghdad when a Colonel asked for volunteers to “make room for HR” (human remains). He wouldn’t let me volunteer since my diplomatic status outranked the others and hence I stayed. I wish I hadn’t. Six flag-draped coffins were strapped onto the floor in front of us and if you relaxed, your knees touched a coffin. We sat very tense and somber for the next two hours. Nobody talked. Being Good Friday added to the sense of great sacrifice and gratitude for it.

Psalm 22 asks a tough question, “My God, why have you forsaken me?” As a teenager, I remember every evangelist I ever heard speak this as a prophecy about Jesus. That made it the most troubling verse in the Bible for me. Why would God “give up” on his own Son? Didn’t God know this was coming?  What did Jesus do to deserve this? Absolutely nothing! So, what gives?

Maybe the Psalmist was speaking of his own feelings and those we all have at times. “God, where are you when I need you?” Maybe Jesus said similar words because he was feeling particularly human at the time and, like the Psalmist, was wondering why God wasn’t swooping in to help. Been there, done that!   

God knows there will be sin and we will lose sight of Him; there will be great need and we will lose hope; there will be wars where people die.

When that horrible flight landed in Kuwait, there was an honor guard waiting to remove the “HR.” We waited…still silent and tense but, grateful to be back on the ground. Similarly, when we finally land from our flights of hopelessness, God is there to relieve us of the tension/guilt/fear or whatever it is that prevents us from a more abundant life.

Steve Hemphill

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