by Robert Walker

Fourth Word: Why Hast Thou Forsaken Me?
Robert Walker
Matthew 27:46, 50

INTRODUCTION At the age of 41, Elizabeth Barrett became the wife of Robert Browning, the famous English poet. Her father, a widower, disowned her.

He objected to the marriage and disowned her simply because he didn’t want any of his children to leave home and break up the family! Elizabeth’s biographer wrote that her father ‘‘ruthlessly sought to obliterate every trace of his daughter.’’ Elizabeth and Robert Browning moved to Italy where they lived for five years.

Believing that, with the passing of time, her father’s heart would soften, Elizabeth wrote hundreds of letters to him. Almost every week she wrote telling him how much she loved him and how she longed for reconciliation.

He never answered one of those hundreds of letters. Returning to England Elizabeth sought, through intermediaries, to restore the relationship. Her father steadfastly refused, deciding instead, to carry his rancor and unreasonableness to the grave.

Shortly after his daughter had arrived back in England seeking to restore the relationship, Mr. Barrett sent a package to his daughter. It contained every letter she had written him during the five years of her absence. The letters were all unopened, their seals unbroken. What shocked Elizabeth Browning was the fact that even the special letters that she had sent in black-edged envelopes and sealed in black wax, had been left intact.

Surely, she thought, her father would have been concerned, thinking that the letters indicated that something was wrong with her or the baby. Yet he had not even bothered to open these letters. She resigned herself to the inevitable end, and, in a disconsolate mood, once again left England. Forsaken by her father whom she loved was more than she could bear.

Forsaken. ‘‘It is one of the most haunting words of human life and one of the most dreadful of human experiences. This dreaded word recalls for many an ocean of ...

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