Day before valentines. I wake up and read the greatest manifestation of love ever. I hear him say it again and again inside my head, long after I’ve closed the Book where it is written.

Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?

I hear it echoing inside me all throughout the day. As I traveled going to the office. As I sat and typed away. As I put the phone down after every call. As I wrote down errands and queries and requests.

Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?

I hear it being said that way too. From long ago, I’ve read it. And the two ways of it being said kept echoing loudly in me all day. Just like the rain that kept pouring through last night and the whole day today. How can I have read or heard it before and not echo like it did today? Maybe because I haven’t thought about it then – how it felt like to be abandoned, to be forsaken? I know it isn’t comparable at all. His love is perfect and mine was false, though I didn’t know it at the time. But the feeling of being abandoned, that we surely have been made familiar with, one way or another.

I remember two specific instances in my life when I was left behind.

We went to our grandparents’ house one weekend. We were just going to visit for a day and go home by nightfall. But then they left me. I can’t remember why. They all went home but they left me in the care of my aunt, at my grandparents’ house. And I remember not being able to sleep well that night or the night after that and every night I was there. I would always think of home each night before I slept. And I remember crying. Crying til I fell asleep. It was a week before I was finally home but it felt like forever. And I remember feeling so relieved when I was able to go back home. I think I cried happy tears that time and hugged my mom and asked her not to be separated from her or from our family again.

He returned to me the laptop he borrowed. Then he just said we should go back a step from where we were. He didn’t let me ask why. Didn’t ask me if I agree we should. Just said goodbye. Didn’t call out when I turned to walk away. (What did I expect? That kind of thing only happens in movies.) I walked back home feeling numb. I wondered why I didn’t feel anything, couldn’t feel anything. The next days were surreal. I remembered what happened the day before but it didn’t register to me as true. It was two weeks after when it suddenly dawned on me. It was real. He said goodbye. He was gone. And then the pain came. And it grew each day. It stayed for a year. But at the time it felt like forever.      

He, himself, experienced it. In order to make perfect love available to us, he willingly took it upon himself to be forsaken, to be abandoned by the Father he perfectly loves and who perfectly loves him. He, himself, felt it. To be abandoned, forsaken. No one likes to be left behind. But Jesus, who knew no sin, who didn’t deserve any punishment, bore on the cross what was meant for us because of sin: eternal separation from God.

Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?

Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?

He is not one who is distant. He knew how it felt. He experienced every suffering we could ever imagine because nothing could be heavier than the weight of sin. And yet, he willingly took it all. So that now, we are able to read these words, hear these words as the greatest sacrifice ever made because of love. And because of this very sacrifice, we are made whole. We are healed. We are forgiven. Made alive in him because he didn’t just suffer and die. He rose again as he promised. He lives. Perfect Love lives.

Day before valentines. Perfect Love has revealed himself anew.



4 thoughts on “echo

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  1. That’s a great perspective on rejection. It’s something I fear – haven’t experienced so much because I’ve probably not allowed myself to be vulnerable enough to risk it. I’ve been learning that that vulnerability is, in a sense, the essence of love. Thanks for adding this perspective to that.

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