The doctor's words hung lifeless in the air. Each of us gathered in the waiting room tried desperately to translate what our ears were hearing into coherent thoughts. All eyes stared about the room at faces that did not register the weight of this proclamation. Jackie was dead.
Jackie was only sixteen or "sixteen and a half" as she would say in her youthful effort to be more mature than her specific age would reflect. She was someone who never met a stranger. She cared about everyone and everything with uncompromising compassion. Outgoing, joyful, energetic, and beautiful were the simplest of words to describe this young lady who warmed the hearts of all of those who were touched by her life.
Jackie had been walking to the local hospital. Her older sister was giving birth to Jackie's first niece. Some schoolmates spotted Jackie and stopped to give her a ride. In a strange twist of fate, the driver lost control of the vehicle. Rounding a sharp curve, the car slammed into one of the oak trees that lined the street. A short ride of less than ten miles had turned into a tragedy. All occupants from the mangled vehicle were rushed to the hospital with injuries. It was same hospital where Jackie's sister and family were already assembled. Four of the five people in the vehicle would eventually die. Jackie would be the first.
Sorrow, anguish, depression and confusion quieted everyone as we eventually grasped the heavy announcement. How could someone who had so much more life to live, so many experiences yet ahead in life, and so much to share with others die so suddenly?
We all treasure life as precious because we understand the limitation of years, months, days, hours, minutes and seconds that are reserved for each of us in our personal bank of time. When these time elements are snatched from an account, we suffer through some of the most traumatic and emotional questions of life. Who can sympathize? Who can understand? Who would really care?
Christ experienced similar reactions in His short life. In the shortest verse in the Bible, (John 11:35), we see Christ's reaction as He passed mourning family members and sensed their feelings of loss at the tomb of His friend Lazarus.
Christ understood that "feel of the inevitable." As His own death approached, He prayed "take this cup away from Me," (Luke 22:42). Yet, He understood God's will must be supreme.
And in one of most poignant moments recorded in history, the Bible chronicles Christ's cries to God the Father as the weight of the sins of all mankind were placed on His shoulders. The intimate and eternal connection that these two had always shared was clouded by our sins (Matthew 27:46). Along with all the physical pains that He endured, Christ struggled with the same anguish we do.
Who is able to sympathize with our loss? Christ, our Savior.
Who can understand the pain and anguish? Christ, our sacrifice.
Who really cares for our well being? Christ, our King.
Why is Christ the answer to these questions?
We have an Advocate, a High Priest, who was been tested through the most trying methods known to mankind, examined under the piercing eyes of men who hated Him, scrutinized by others who could find no wrong in Him and proven through the trials of torture in His human life (Hebrews 4:15). When the weight of our life's problems, the questions that test the very character of our being and the difficulties that pothole the path which we travel eventually arrive at our doorstep, we can be comforted through prayer, a heartfelt conversation with the eternally compassionate ear of God.