“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”
The young man was a rebel and the family all knew it. He loved to live on the edge of things. One warm summer evening he had been visiting the home of an older sister and was about to go home. She warned him to drive carefully. That was all the challenge he needed.
As he backed out of the driveway of his sister’s home he smoked the tires in reverse. Then when he started down the street he again spun the back wheels in a racing start down the street. A few moments later the lights went out in his sister’s home and she wondered why.
It was a few hours later that she received the phone call from the hospital that she needed to come quickly. Her brother was not expected to live. There had been an accident. The young man had lost control of his car and the vehicle had run into a hydro-electric pole and that was what had cut the power to her home.
Sadly the young man died and I was called to do the funeral. Half of the students at his high school turned out for the funeral service. It seemed like a waste of life to realise that he had left us before even having the opportunity to really live and explore the adult world. Many of his friends had to stand at the open windows to hear the service as the building was crowded out.
But that was not the worst of his parents and sisters sorrows that day. After I had performed the committal service at the grave we lifted the spray of flowers off the casket, that bore the ribbon with the words “Beloved son”, and carried them over to a very small grave of his little brother and laid the flowers on it.
You see, a couple of years earlier I had the sad task of burying his 1 year old brother who had died of a fatal disease. That hot summer day was one of the most difficult in my entire Christian ministry. The question “Why?” haunted me and caused me to weep with the parents at such a dreadful loss.
What I did say that day in the face of such tragedy was that another Father had a Son who died and when the Son died He asked the question in our verse for today. The Son was not looking for an answer when He asked the question. Often we ask questions when we know the answer. “Who does she think she is?” we may say, knowing full well what she thinks of herself.
When Jesus asked this question He knew exactly why He was on the cross. What He was seeking to do was express in words how dreadful His suffering was and how much it cost Him to die for us. At the funeral for that teenage boy I sought to get the mourners to look at the scene 2,000 years ago outside the city of Jerusalem and call to mind that another Father had lost His Son in order to redeem sinners.
I urged the mourners in the midst of their confusion and pain to come to the Father Who was willing to sacrifice His Son for us and seek from Him the help and strength to endure. I also urged them to ask for the faith to believe in the Son Who died in our place so we might have eternal life.
Why did that family lose two sons? I could not give them reasons. The teenager drove in a careless manner and accidents can easily happen. But the infant son? I simply had no answer, I just urged them to come to the God who allowed His Son to die for us. Will you come to this Father Who let His Son die that we might live?