If You’re Having a Really Rotten Day…

Read Psalm 22

Featured Verse: Psalm 22:1 (MSG)

“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”

To say that King David, the sweet singer of Israel, had some pretty bad days during his earthly journey would be a tremendous understatement. Think about what David endured: He had to dodge the spear of his insane father-in-law, King Saul. He lived as a fugitive for several years, moving from place to place, hiding from the law in dank, dark caves, barely escaping death on several occasions.  His wife was taken from him and given to another man.  He was forced to flee the city he loved in humiliating fashion because of a coup, led by his own son. People he trusted betrayed him. He buried several of his sons—every parent’s worst nightmare. As a consequence of his own public moral failings, his family disintegrated before his very eyes.  Yeah, David had some Category 5 days in his life.

Yet I have a feeling that the depth of despair you read in this psalm was a bit exaggerated.  We do that, too, sometimes. When we’re going through a painful experience, we often use hyperbolic language to describe our emotions: “I just want to die…I’ll never get over this…this pain is too great to bear…I am all alone.” It is a universally accepted practice to communicate the depth of our feelings by this sort of exaggeration.

But think about this: In this psalm, David was not just speaking on a personal level about having a really rotten day, he was also speaking prophetically.  The Spirit of God inspired David to write of a time when Jesus, the Son of David, would have a really rotten day hanging on a cross as God’s sacrifice for our sins.

You see, Jesus, who knew no sin, became sin, bearing both the sin of the entire world as well as the wrath of God on that old rugged cross. We will never in a billion years be able to understand the horrible, unbearable pain—not just the physical pain—but the spiritual pain of the sinless One taking on sin and having the Father turn his back on the Son because God’s holy eyes could not gaze upon the sin his Son had become in that moment. That is why Jesus fulfilled David’s prophetic utterance in Matthew 27:46 when he, too, cried out,

“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”

I have had a few really rotten days in my life—and I’ll have a few more before my journey is over—but I am so grateful that Jesus endured the “mother of all bad days” so I wouldn’t have to know a really rotten eternity.  He did that for me—and you, too!  So the next time you are having a really awful, horrible, rotten day, take a moment to rejoice that even though your day is not so great, you will never really know a really rotten eternity, thanks to Jesus.

Try doing that, and see if your really rotten day isn’t so bad after all.

“Much that worries us beforehand can, quite unexpectedly, have a happy and simple solution … Things really are in a better hand than ours.”  ~Dietrich Bonhoeffer

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