Why, Oh Why, My God?

Why, Oh Why, My God?

This month, in anticipation of remembering and commemorating the death and resurrection of Christ, I’ve been listening to a new EP from my all-time favorite artist Andrew Peterson. The name of the EP is “Resurrection Letters: A Prologue.” The larger Resurrection Letters project centers around the resurrection of Christ and the implications of that event in the lives of Christians. This small Prologue EP is meant to reflect on the crucifixion of Christ, anticipating his glorious victory over sin and death. The full-length album, “Resurrection Letters Volume 1,” is set to be released on Good Friday.

One of the songs I want to discuss today is titled “Well Done, Good and Faithful.” The setting of the song is Psalm 22, the full context of one of the phrases uttered by Christ on the cross, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” In Psalm 22, David is pleading for deliverance from his many trials and afflictions, but at the same time remembering the faithfulness of God. It’s like he’s expressing the real frustration he’s feeling from his terrible situation and then consoling himself with the faithfulness he’s experienced from God in the past. This remembering of God’s faithfulness gives David hope that God has indeed not forsaken him. God is completely sovereign over every molecule in the universe, and certainly, over every situation, we find ourselves in. When we don’t understand what good could come from the pain and hurt that we sometimes experience, we do well to remember that, “ for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” This is the phrase that plays over and over in my mind as I try to reflect on the horrible injustice meted out to the sinless Son of God.

The chorus of the song repeats the question, “Why, oh why, my God.” We receive the answer from God himself in Hebrews 12:2, “looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.” The chorus ends with the phrase, “ Well done, good and faithful. Well done. Well done, good and faithful one.” This is a reference from Matthew 25:21 in the parable of the talents. Jesus is explaining what the Kingdom of Heaven will be like. Andrew Peterson explained in a blog post that the inspiration for the chorus came from a Tim Keller. He explains that “while we often say that we hope to run the race in such a way that God would tell us, “Well done, good and faithful,” that just won’t ever happen. None of us is good and faithful. Only Jesus is, and it is because of his goodness and faithfulness that we are made heirs of the King.”

I try to empathize with the disciples of Jesus, and what they must have been thinking when all of this was happening. They had no idea how this could have happened to the one they were sure was the promised Messiah. I get that. Of course, they couldn’t understand, even though Jesus had told them exactly what was going to happen so that they would know that this is exactly what had to happen. But understanding and belief are not something that we work out in our minds. It’s revealed and given to us by the Holy Spirit. Only after Christ’s resurrection and the giving of the Holy Spirit do the disciples comprehend what just happened. Then they rejoiced, glorified God and commenced spreading this good news to every corner of the earth. As I continue to reflect on the brutal murder of my Lord and Savior, I remember that “Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning.”

Here are the full lyrics for “Well Done, Good and Faithful.”

My favorite part is “He prayed in dark Gethsemane, ‘Withhold this bitter cup.’ But he resigned his will to thee, And drank the sorrows up. Our savior cried with David’s grief, ‘In groans I waste my breath; Thy heavy hand has brought me down Beneath the bitter dust of death.’ Then he gave his spirit up, To trust it in your hand; His dying flesh reposed in hope, To rise at your command.” Those last two phrases are incredibly powerful.

“Well Done, Good and Faithful”

Why has my God my soul forsook,
Nor will a smile afford?
(Thus David once in anguish spoke,
And thus our dying Lord.)
Though it’s your chief delight to dwell
Among your praising saints,
Yet you hear us groan as well,
And pity our complaints.

Our fathers trusted in your name,
And great deliverance found;
But he’s a worm, despised of men,
And trodden to the ground.
Men shake their heads and pass him by,
And laugh his soul to scorn;
“In vain he trusts in God,” they cry,
“Neglected and forlorn.”

But you are he who formed his flesh
By your almighty word;
And since he hung upon the breast,
His hope was in the Lord.
Why will his Father hide his face,
When foes stand threatening round,
In this dark hour of deep distress,
And not a helper found?

Why, oh why, my God?
Why, oh why, my God?
For the joy set before him he endured
And is seated at the right hand of the throne
Well done, good and faithful
Well done, good and faithful one.

Behold your dear one left among
The cruel and the proud,
As mighty bulls, so fierce and strong,
As lions roaring loud.
From earth and hell his sorrows meet
To multiply the pain;
They nail his hands, they pierce his feet,
And mock him yet again.

Yet if your sovereign hand let loose
The rage of earth and hell,
Why would my heavenly Father bruise
The Son he loves so well?
He prayed in dark Gethsemane,
“Withhold this bitter cup.”
But he resigned his will to thee,
And drank the sorrows up.

Our savior cried with David’s grief,
“In groans I waste my breath;
Thy heavy hand has brought me down
Beneath the bitter dust of death.”
Then he gave his spirit up,
To trust it in your hand;
His dying flesh reposed in hope,
To rise at your command.

Why, oh why, my God?
Why, oh why, my God?
For the joy set before him he endured
And is seated at the right hand of the throne
Well done, good and faithful, well done
Well done, good and faithful one.

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