Experiencing Quiet Connection, A Good Friday Reflection
“1 My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?
Why are you so far away when I groan for help?
2 Every day I call to you, my God, but you do not answer.
Every night I lift my voice, but I find no relief.
3 Yet you are holy,
enthroned on the praises of Israel.
4 Our ancestors trusted in you,
and you rescued them.
5 They cried out to you and were saved.
They trusted in you and were never disgraced.”
It is a truth universally acknowledged that life on this earth is filled with a multitude of challenges and struggles. Even in our best seasons, when things are going our way, nothing is all sunshine and daisies; there are always trials to endure.
For all that we understand the reality of this, there are moments when our struggles seem too much. When our suffering feels so immense, so total, that we question whether we can endure. In these moments, it is not simply enough to shake our heads and chalk it up to a bad day. Sometimes, despite our best attempts at reasoning and justification, the pain and darkness seem senseless. Sometimes all we can do is ask, “Why?”
The events memorialized on Good Friday certainly epitomize this kind of devastation. If we picture ourselves among the disciples witnessing Jesus’ crucifixion, it is easy to imagine the fear and confusion they must have felt—their sense of grief and isolation.
That is one of the most terrible parts of grief—the sense of aloneness it engenders. It is a feeling expressed in the opening words of David’s Psalm 22: “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me? Why are you so far away when I groan for help?” We may feel forgotten and forsaken. In reality though, there is community and common understanding in suffering. We are not alone.
David understood this, as Psalm 22 continues “Our ancestors trusted in you, and you rescued them. They cried out to you and were saved. They trusted in you and were never disgraced.” David called out to God, remembering the faithfulness God has displayed to the generations that came before. And on the cross, Jesus quoted David's words, invoking his lament as well as the assurance that God remains faithful and steadfast. Good Friday reminds us that we are none of us alone. We are joined in fellowship with all who have come before us—with David, Ruth, Paul, and Jesus himself. We empathize with their pain, and they are with us as we weather our own.
Even during his crucifixion, Jesus was not alone. Two other men suffered alongside him, one on either side. In the midst of terrible agony, Jesus offers a shared connection: “I assure you, today you will be with me in paradise” (Luke 23:43).
Good Friday can feel like a tumultuous day. The horrors and bloodiness crash over us. The jeering and wailing of the crowds are deafening. But parallel to the darkness and the cacophony is a quiet connection. Jesus sees us in our pain. He empathizes with our grief. His voice lifts with ours in declaring our lament before God.
The miracle of Easter is the triumph of peace over chaos, of life over death. The miracle of Good Friday is in God’s willingness to sit beside us in our pain with empathy. Jesus does not merely wipe away suffering; he reaches out to us within it. And we can reach out to one another in kind, offering acknowledgment, support, and compassion. “Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way, you will fulfill the law of Christ” (Galatians 6:2).
Darkness and grief will not have the final word. There is reason to cling to hope. But even in the dark, we are not alone. Amen.
Words: Emma Tweitmann
Images: Annie Spratt