[From the cross] Jesus cried out with a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” which means, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” – Mark 15:34-39 (NRSV)
British writer, actor and comedian, Stephen Fry, was once asked what he would say to God if given the opportunity.
Fry said he would tell God: “How dare you create a world in which there is such misery that is not our fault? It’s not right. It’s utterly, utterly evil.” Fry went on to say, “Why should I respect a capricious, mean-minded, stupid God who creates a world which is so full of injustice and pain? It’s perfectly apparent that he is monstrous and deserves no respect whatsoever.”
Even if you recoil at Fry’s scathing caricature of theism, you have to admire his chutzpah.
Then I remember Jesus beat him to that punch. From perhaps the most agonizing experience of human suffering, Jesus essentially said the same thing: “My God, my God, how dare you abandon me? This is utterly evil.”
A big difference between Fry and Jesus is that Fry rejects God for creating a world where suffering and injustice exist, and Jesus did not. Even when he was nailed to the nexus of suffering and injustice, Jesus still addressed God as “my God.” That’s chutzpah on top of chutzpah!
Fry might discount Jesus for staying in what appears to be an abusive relationship to the bitter end. Jesus, I believe, would embrace Fry in the midst of his rejections. Because Jesus holds on and does not let go.
That’s why I’m sticking with Jesus. Jesus abandons no one. Not even God.
Jesus, my Jesus, hold me fast.
Matt Laney is the Senior Pastor of Virginia Highland Church UCC in Atlanta, GA and the author of Pride Wars, a fantasy series published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt for Young Readers. The first two books, The Spinner Prince and The Four Guardians are available now.