The word came to me today in my early morning prayer. It surprised me. It wasn’t in any of my readings. Forsaken? Sitting in the warmth of my home, my healthy family still sleeping, our dog curled up beside me, I didn’t feel forsaken.
But then I remembered.
To forsake is to abandon someone or something. It’s Jesus on the cross. “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Mark 15:34) It’s us turning our backs on God–too many Bible verses to mention, too many times to count. Again, and again, and again.
There’s another meaning of the word, though. I remembered this too.
To forsake is to give up someone or something valued or pleasant. “Forsaking all others, giving myself only unto thee,” speaks the old wedding vow. All those “all others” are valued and pleasant indeed. At any given time, any number of people, actions, words, and relationships may seem pleasant and valued, but we must choose. We must forsake. Something.
All the things I could have been doing this morning besides prayer—sleep chief amongst them, but also getting ready for the day, preparing the house for the cleaning lady, writing this piece—all these “other things” are pleasant and valued, too, but I was choosing God. Imperfectly, distractedly, even uncomfortably. (The dog kept kicking me in his sleep.) Still, I showed up. I forsook, and maybe this morning, that’s all God really wanted of me.