What does Psalms 22:1-3 really mean?

Psalms 22:1-3 is about the psalmist crying out to God in the midst of feeling abandoned and forsaken, yet ultimately expressing trust and faith in God’s holiness and deliverance.

1 My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?
Why are you so far from saving me, from the words of my groaning?
2 O my God, I cry by day, but you do not answer,
and by night, but I find no rest.
3 Yet you are holy,
enthroned on the praises of Israel.


Setting the Scene for Psalms 22:1-3

The scene in Psalms 22:1-3 depicts a moment of intense anguish and despair. The setting is a desolate place, perhaps a wilderness or a barren landscape, where the psalmist, King David, finds himself feeling abandoned and forsaken by God. The sky is dark, and the wind howls mournfully, adding to the sense of isolation and distress.

Surrounded by his enemies, who taunt and mock him, David cries out to God in desperation, expressing his feelings of abandonment and pleading for deliverance. Despite his overwhelming emotions, David clings to his faith, acknowledging God’s holiness and his own dependence on Him. The scene is filled with raw emotion and vulnerability as David pours out his heart to God, seeking solace and reassurance in the midst of his suffering.

As the psalm unfolds, David’s lament transitions into a declaration of trust and praise, highlighting the transformative power of turning to God in times of trouble. The scene serves as a powerful reminder of the importance of faith and perseverance in the face of adversity, as well as the comfort and strength that can be found in seeking God’s presence and guidance.

What is Psalms 22:1-3 about?

Imagine the intense emotions behind these words – from crying out in pain and sorrow to lifting songs of praise and trust. This verse speaks to the journey of faith, where we may find ourselves faced with hardship and challenges that rock us to our core. It is a reminder that even in the depths of despair, we can turn to God with our cries and trust in His unwavering faithfulness and goodness. When we choose to shift our focus from our pain to God’s promises, a transformation happens within us. How does this verse inspire you to reflect on your own experiences of distress and how you have navigated through them? It serves as a powerful encouragement to hold onto hope and know that our cries of anguish can indeed turn into songs of praise when we place our trust in God’s unfailing love. These words may deepen your faith and remind you of the beauty that can emerge from the darkest of moments as you ponder on them.

Understanding what Psalms 22:1-3 really means

Psalms 22:1-3 delves into a moment of profound anguish and a heartfelt plea for divine presence. This passage holds significant weight as it is often linked to the suffering of Jesus Christ, who quoted the first verse while on the cross, as recorded in Matthew 27:46 and Mark 15:34.

The opening cry, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” resonates deeply with feelings of isolation and despair that many can relate to. It captures the essence of being distant from God, a state of spiritual desolation that can be all too familiar. Jesus’ use of this phrase on the cross not only reflects His identification with human suffering but also serves as a poignant reminder of His solidarity with those who feel abandoned.

The subsequent verse, “Why are you so far from saving me, so far from my cries of anguish?” further emphasizes the sense of God’s perceived distance during times of intense suffering. This sentiment echoes throughout various Psalms, where the psalmists grapple with the apparent absence of God in their distress.

Despite the lack of immediate answers, the psalmist persists in seeking God, crying out day and night without finding rest. This unwavering pursuit of God in the face of silence underscores the importance of faith and perseverance, mirroring the lesson taught in the parable of the persistent widow in Luke 18:1-8.

Even amidst feelings of abandonment, the psalmist acknowledges God’s sovereignty and holiness, proclaiming, “Yet you are enthroned as the Holy One; you are the one Israel praises.” This acknowledgment of God’s unchanging nature serves as a vital anchor for faith, especially in moments of doubt and suffering.

In today’s world, where many grapple with feelings of abandonment and unanswered prayers, Psalms 22:1-3 offers a framework for expressing those emotions honestly while still clinging to faith. It reassures believers that even in the depths of despair, God remains present and caring, despite the perceived distance.

Consider a scenario where an individual facing severe illness feels abandoned by loved ones and questions God’s presence. Despite the overwhelming suffering, they persist in prayer, finding solace in knowing that Jesus Himself experienced similar feelings of abandonment. This personal anecdote illustrates how the passage can provide comfort and a sense of solidarity with Christ during times of profound distress.

The repetition of “My God, my God” underscores the intimate relationship between the psalmist and God, even in moments of doubt. The question, “Why have you forsaken me?” reflects humanity’s innate desire to seek understanding and purpose in the midst of suffering. Lastly, the affirmation, “You are enthroned as the Holy One,” serves as a reminder of God’s eternal authority and sanctity, pointing believers towards the bigger picture beyond their immediate struggles.

In conclusion, Psalms 22:1-3 stands as a poignant reminder of the human experience of suffering and the unyielding quest for divine presence. It encourages believers to be transparent in their prayers, to persevere in seeking God, and to trust in His sovereignty, even when His presence feels distant.

Why does God sometimes seem distant in our suffering?

God can often feel distant or silent in times of suffering, as if He is not hearing our cries for help. The psalmist expresses this feeling perfectly in Psalm 22:1-3. However, it is important to remember that our feelings of abandonment do not necessarily reflect the reality of God’s presence. God may seem distant in our suffering, but He is always near. Sometimes our pain and circumstances can cloud our perception and make it difficult for us to sense God’s presence, but He is still there, listening and working on our behalf.

During times of suffering, it is crucial to hold on to our faith and trust in God’s goodness and faithfulness, even when we cannot see it or feel it. The psalmist goes on to recall God’s past faithfulness and deliverance, encouraging us to remember God’s track record of coming through for His people in their times of need. We can find comfort and hope in the midst of our trials by focusing on God’s unchanging nature and promises, knowing that even when God seems distant, He is always working for our good and ultimately bringing about His purposes in our lives.


When your world feels chaotic and you’re overwhelmed with stress, remember that there’s always a source of strength and comfort beside you. In times of hardship, go to this source and find peace in its unwavering support. Will you tap into this wellspring of solace and experience the calm that it can bring to your life today?