“For one will scarcely die for a righteous person–though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die– but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:7-8 ESV).
My brother-in-law passed away in October of last year. My wife being from Germany (her mother, brother and sister still living in Deutschland), she caught the earliest available flight home to be at her sister’s side. Me, my workload at the time was too much; leaving so many bases uncovered would have placed an undue hardship on my team so I stayed at home.
Being the first time we had ever been apart for an extended period, I moped around the house, miserable and lonely. Our relatively small home transformed into what seemed twice the size. It was a hollow, empty place filled with nothingness – the silence was overwhelming and depressing. Although I had not been abandoned, it felt like it. Nothing held an interest for me; not the television, the Internet, or being with other family members or friends here at home could fill the ever-growing void her absence brought about with each passing day.
It’s a psychological condition known as Separation Anxiety, and is experienced more by young children and toddlers (I was a big baby); but anyone removed from someone to whom they are closely attached can be a victim. The depressive sufferings can be extremely weighty and emotionally debilitating.
When Jesus took upon himself our sin (yours and mine), for what no doubt seemed an eternity he was alone – separated from the Father who could not associate himself with the sin his son carried that day. Though temporary, that loss of communion was a weight unbearable for Jesus. As God looked away Jesus cried out, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me”, and died.
In a very small kind of way (by comparison), what I felt while my wife was away overseas with her grieving sister is something similar to what Jesus felt at Calvary. It doesn’t seem fair, though; I deserve to be separated from God, permanently removed. Whatever pain and suffering may come with it is well deserved, the just wages of my sin. That he who knew no sin would become sin and bear the cross for sin, however, just don’t seem fair, and it isn’t – it should have been me. Because he did, though, I stand before God clothed in Christ’s righteousness, acceptable in the Father’s sight and a delight to his eyes
“Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways!” (Romans 11:33 ESV)