Reflection—v. 24b, ‘…he did not hide his face from me…’
No part of this psalm and how it shapes our understanding of the cross needs to be heard more than these pivotal, transformative verses. The one who cried out in anguish, ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’ affirms in praise that God did not ‘hide his face from me’ but ‘heard me when I cried.’ Some suggest God could not look upon Jesus on the cross, holiness somehow trumping love. But the psalmist declares God ‘faced’ him in his suffering. Taken as Jesus’ prayer from the cross, and borrowing Trinitarian language, the Father could not turn his back upon the Son in his passion. God sees us–and does not waver–fully present to us, in all our suffering. Psalm 22 reminds us that faith gives us the freedom to express our fears in their rawest and most primal forms, but it also knows that God will not surrender us to our suffering outside his own suffering presence with us.
Prayer My God, my God, when I cry out to you, help me see your face, unhidden from my sorrows.