“For he has not despised or abhorred the affliction of the afflicted, and he has not hidden his face from him, but has heard, when he cried to him.” (Psalm 22:24, ESV)
As we saw last time, this is a messianic psalm that predicted Christ’s crucifixion. In fact, as Jesus hung on the cross, He quoted the first line, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” As Christ became sin for us, and as God judged the sins of the world for all time, He hid His face from His Son. But this was only temporary, for the Father was well-pleased with His beloved Son who had finished the work He was given to do. Verse 24 is on the other side of the crucifixion. The Father did not despise or abhor the affliction of His Son. No longer would He hide His face but would hear His cries.
This is important for us to understand when we are going through affliction. God is not distant. He has not forgotten about us. He does not ignore or despise our suffering—especially when we are suffering according to His will. God allows these times in our lives for our spiritual growth. If Christ learned obedience through the things that He suffered (Hebrews 5:8), then we should not be surprised when God allows suffering in our lives. God is building His character in us. He is strengthening us. He is teaching us to trust in Him no matter what. Moreover, with every Good Friday of suffering there is a Resurrection Sunday of joy!
“All the ends of the earth shall remember and turn to the LORD, and all the families of the nations shall worship before you. For kingship belongs to the LORD, and he rules over the nations.” (Psalm 22:27–28, ESV)
When we are suffering, we must look up to gain the heavenly perspective. We must consider the future and know that this is merely a moment in time. The day is coming during the millennial kingdom when all the people of the earth will turn to the LORD and worship Him. Christ will sit on the throne of David and rule the nations with truth and justice. And we who have trusted in Christ will reign with Him! We know how the story ends and Jesus wins!
In the meantime, Christ has left us an example so that we should follow in His steps. We know that our suffering is never in vain. Somehow it is accomplishing a greater work in us and preparing us to serve others. Don’t ever think that God has forgotten you. He has inscribed you in the palms of His hands (Isaiah 49:16). He will never leave you nor forsake you. But faithfully endure until the end, and you will receive the crown of life (Revelation 2:10).