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Cross in the Wilderness

Of recent I have been going through a great trial, with no end in sight. It seems for me, and so many others around me, the doors to hope have been shut. One day, recently, I found myself in fervent prayer, praying in tongues and heard the Spirit cry out from my lips, “Eli! Eli!”. I realized I had just cried out in Aramaic the same cry of Christ, “My God, My God… [Why has thou forsaken me?]”.

This passage struck a chord with me and upon researching the verse, I found myself meandering through Psalm 22, the prophetic song Jesus was quoting while on the cross. And then, one passage caught my eye:

Deliver my soul from the sword, My only life from the power of the dog. From the horns of the wild oxen you answered me.” – Psalm 22:20-21

As I digested the passage, something came to me that uncurled a moment of intrigue. Metaphorically speaking, the “horns of the wild oxen”, refer in the Bible to the “declarations of wayward Israel” – the Jewish leaders that responded to his cry. Frantically, I returned to the passage in Mark:

When some of the bystanders heard it, they began saying, “Behold, he is calling for Elijah.”” – Mark 15:35

Christ says in the Psalms that God answered his question through this passage spoken by the pharisees. The pharisees, the religious elite, are recorded saying that Jesus is calling for Elijah. But why? I love Hebrew because there is always a deeper meaning to these types of scenarios. The name and character of one called an “Elijah” comes from the meaning of the name Elijah, which is “My Lord is God”, or more aptly, “One who follows God’s will (or character).” And here lies the moment of clarity.

Christ calling out this question, marks the moment when all sin falls upon him. He is in such confusion and agony, he adopts the most cardinal sin of all – a loss of trust in God. He cries out, hoping someone having mercy like God, will have compassion to help in a way what he feels God will not. He loses faith in God, and turns to the world for help. It is during that moment, God must turn away, because He, not Christ, is rejected. And at that moment, Christ takes on our greatest sin.

How many times have we fallen into the same trap as Christ as believers. We face a crossroads, we dig our heels in, and we fail to see when God is asking us to have faith enough to die, and be overcome, not so that we might face Hell on Earth, but that we might truly have the chance to be renewed and resurrected. By rejecting this notion, we find ourselves crying out for help in the wilderness, not realizing that the only thing really able to help us is our bowing to the Truth (Christ) of our situation. This is real faith, and it is humbling. Our true success rather, resides in trusting in God, that the death or failure ahead of us that we must accept is not the end, but simply the beginning of another more glorious chapter.