A Shudder in Heaven

As I read it this morning, I imagined a shudder in heaven as the Father breathed it, the Holy Spirit moved David to write it, and the Son anticipated it.

My God, my God, why have You forsaken Me?
Why are You so far from saving Me, from the words of My groaning?

(Psalm 22:1 ESV)

I know that, unlike heaven, I’m the creature bound by time and chronology. That God’s plan to redeem and reconcile man “with the precious blood of Jesus” was “foreknown before the foundation of the world” (1Pet. 1:18-20). But Jesus came as the Redeemer “in the fullness of time” (Gal. 4:4-5) and before then, way before then, the script for our redemption was penned by a king/songwriter. And in his lyric was foretold in graphic detail how the Redeemer would redeem. And as those words appeared on the parchment for the first time I wonder if there wasn’t a shudder in heaven.

Surrounded by bulls of Bashan with teethed barred toward Him as ravening and roaring lions. Encompassed by dogs, encircled by a company of evildoers, who seemingly delight as they pierce His hands and feet. So mistreated that He would feel “poured out like water” . . . His bones all out of joint . . . His heart like wax . . . His strength all but dried up and gone. And His enemies would stare and gloat over this emaciated savior . . . adding further insult to injury as they gamble over who would get His clothes (Ps. 22:12-18).

But, as bad as the anticipation of all that might of been, it paled compared to the Father’s response to His Son’s cross.

My God, my God, why have You forsaken Me?

Forsaken of the Father. Bearing the wrath for transgression that was rightfully ours to bear.  Becoming the curse deserved for our sin and thus expelled from God’s holy presence. Desperately desiring the face of Him whose love He had always known but now only getting His back. Darkness for the One who was the Light. I can’t imagine what is was for the Son to be forsaken by the Father.

I think it was this foreknowledge that especially tormented the Savior that night in the garden when “in an agony He prayed more earnestly; and His sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground.” When He petitioned before heaven’s throne, “Father, if You are willing, remove this cup from Me.” When He submitted willing, “Nevertheless, not My will, but Yours, be done” (Luke 22:42-44).

So, in light of the Savior’s response to such foreknowledge that night at Gethsemane, is it way off base to think that, when ages earlier the prophetic word was given, and it was penned, that there might have been a shudder in heaven?

And as I chew on this I can’t help but marvel anew at the love of God. To wonder afresh at the depths of God’s determination to rescue men and women from the hopelessness of darkness, the bondage of sin, and the fear of death. To be in awe once more at the abundance of grace poured out by God to provide a just and eternal reconciliation for creatures who had turned their back upon their Creator.

And so, as I consider once again the nature of the price paid for my salvation by the Lamb of God, I imagine a shudder in heaven as the lyrics of Psalm 22 are written . . . and there’s a shudder here on earth as I know they were written for me.

What wondrous love . . . what amazing grace. To Him be eternal glory.

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