Yesterday was a profoundly sad day for me as a chaplain. I recently had a death of a patient who except for one of our staff faced death alone. The man had been a recluse all of his life and never ventured off of the family farm for decades. He had someone shop for him and when the other members of the family sold the farm, the new owners evicted him from his trailer. In addition, a distant family member had cleared his checking account and left him nearly penniless. There was no visitation, no funeral service and except for the funeral home staff and cemetery personnel, his life ceased without being mourned.
I struggled with this for a couple of days and after attending another death found myself traveling home with tears in my eyes and praying to God for understanding. I stopped at a store and called another chaplain for prayer. Still sad, I called my wife to have dinner out with our daughter and afterwards went home to veg. I awoke this morning still saddened and did not know why.
I had Christian music playing and a song by Point of Grace came across my speakers. The title, “A Circle of Friends” made me to think about what it meant to be a Christian. A few miles down the road I came to understand the message God had for me. While I was sad yesterday, God had given me another Christian to pray with who understood my pain from a professional standpoint. God also gave me a wife and daughter to have dinner and while we ate as a family I played hangman with a nine year old who also knows the Lord. On the way home she asked me why God would give me a job like this. I told her to help others and in my sadness I would be able to cry out to him. His words came clearly through the voice of a child, “Then maybe you out to cry out to him more!” I had a wife to lay beside me last night and wish me a good day this morning.
But, God also has given me a church in which I can worship with other believers facing some of the same things I do in which we can share and lift up one another. I have a place of service to help others to mend or improve their marriages after I have helped families face the death of family members. So how did this all come about?
On the cross Jesus was abandoned by his Father because of my sins and all of the sins of the world. The sin of the world placed upon someone who had never sinned so I will never be alone. Imagine Jesus crying out to the Father about being forsaken. That lonely desperate cry in the midst of physical agony. All for the world! Surrounded by cruel detractors and fearful disciples and family, Jesus alone. I feel better now, because unlike that man, I will never be alone. My Savior, my friend will always be with me, even into the sadness of the world.