This Bible reflection is about my PET / CT scan appointment to determine the stage of my cancer.
“Please, breathe naturally”. Why do they always say that? What is the first thing that happens when someone tells you “breathe naturally”? Well, you just stop doing it. There I was in that machine that was looking if the cancer has spread to other parts of my body. And I was trying so hard not to focus on my breathing. But the more I tried, the more difficult it was…less natural, less rhythmic. Then I remembered … deep breathing, diaphragm … I could breathe as when I’m singing. I started singing in my mind and I breathed “singing”…
Jesus in the midst of his anguish on the Cross expressed words of a song. Matthew 27:45-46 states: “From noon on, darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon. And about three o’clock Jesus cried with a loud voice, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” that is, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” This expression comes from Psalm 22 which is a cry of distress (verses 1-21) and a song of praise (verses 22-31)?
Before, we must explain that no human being ever experienced or will experience the level of distress that Jesus suffered. While it is true that death by crucifixion was a cruel and agonizing way, the anguish of Jesus transcended physical torture. Jesus suffered as our substitute. The full weight of the wrath of God for my sin, for your sin, was on Jesus.
The human cry of anguish actually comes from our unbelief, our fears, our limited understanding of things. “I can’t feel” God’s presence. “It seems” that he has abandoned me. “It makes no sense” that a loving God allowed something like this to happen. But this “abandonment” is always apparent. It is always our perception. The cross ensures that through the merits of Jesus, God will never turn His gaze away from us. He will never forsake us. That even in the darkest moments of the soul, communion with God is possible and feasible thanks to Jesus.
Returning to Psalm 22, this is a prophetic psalm fulfilled by Jesus on the cross (see verses 14, 15 and 18). And the last verses, give us the psalmist’s vision of what comes after the anguish:
Verse 22 – someday I’ll have a story to tell that will make others praise God.
Verse 24 – God has been right there, listening.
Verse 25 – I have discovered a life of praise and commitment. I will fulfill my vows to the Lord.
Verse 27-31 – I can see a future of glory. Nations will praise the Lord. Families will come and worship. The Lord reigns.
When you can’t breathe in the midst of your troubles, praise the Lord and “breathe as if you were singing”. You’ll have a testimony; God always listens; you will live a life of praise and commitment; one day every tongue will confess that Jesus is Lord. “Hallelujah”
©Rebecca Parrilla Copyright 2015