I’m reading some of my C.S. Lewis’s books again (this blog is after all an allusion to his most famous work, what else would you expect). Letters to Malcolm, though virtually unheard of, has some great thoughts in it and has challenged me immensely.
In speaking of Jesus praying in the garden and the aftermath of the crucifixion, Lewis speaks of the Savior reaching for every possible option jerked away at the last moment. He reminds us that we have a God who is familiar with our pain.
Does not every moment in the Passion write large some common element in the sufferings of our race? First, the prayer of anguish; not granted. Then He turns to His friends. They are asleep – as ours; or we, are so often, or busy, or away, or preoccupied. Then He faces the Church; the very Church that he brought into existence. It condemns Him. This is also characteristic. In every Church, in every institution, there is something which sooner or later works against the very purpose for which it came into existence. But there seems to be another chance. There is the State; in this case, the Roman state. Its pretensions are far lower than those of the Jewish church, but for that very reason it may be free from local fanaticisms. It claims to be just on a rough, worldly level. Yes, but only so far as is consistent with political expediency and rasion d’etat. One becomes a counter in a complicated game. But even now all is not lost. There is still an appeal to the People – the poor and simple whom He had blessed, whom He had healed and fed and taught, to whom He Himself belongs. But they have become over-night (it is nothing unusual) a murderous rabble shouting for His blood. There is, then, nothing left but God. And to God, God’s last words are “Why hast thou forsaken me?”
He writes that it is the epitome of being human: “Every rope breaks when you seize it. Every door is slammed shut as you reach it. To be fox at the end of the run; the earths all staked.”
While we may not be grateful for those times like those when we simply survive, I can think of no better comfort than to know that Jesus endured the same – though in a sense much worse. He was forced to say “My God, My God why have you forsaken me,” so I would never have to.