By Rev. Pete Hyde
He sits at the bar slowly turning his wedding ring only stopping to reach for the drink sitting in a pool of condensation and melted ice. The words race through his mind. “What happened ? How did I end up here? I thought I had it all together.” He stops spinning his ring as his hand clenches into a fist and bangs the top of the bar. Speaking to anyone but no one, the words echo through the empty room, “Why have you given up on me!” It was statement, not a question.
With all the professionalism she can muster, she stands straight and leaves the short, to-the-point meeting. The door closes behind her with a definitive “thud” as if placing an exclamation point on the termination. The clunk of the door acting like a needle in the side of a balloon to her emotions – anger, tears, disappointment, disillusionment, abandonment. The security guard watched as she packed a box of her personal belongings. Her co-workers whispered behind cubicle walls. She steps through the door of the office building, box in hand, and melts into a nearby bench. With a dazed stare on her face she looks up to the sky and exclaims, “Seriously?”
Head down, he slides down the junior high hallway to his locker so as not to draw any attention to himself. A hard slap on his shoulder and aggressive tug on his books sends everything he is carrying sliding across the crowded hallway. It seems as if the entire school is circled around, taunting him. He gathers up as much as he can for as long as he can stand and runs to the restroom where he locks himself into a stall. His thoughts race. The unthinkable races through his mind. “If this is the way life is going to be, maybe it’s time to quit.”
There is nothing to do but stare at the lines and numbers on the monitor that tell the harsh truth they all knew was coming but weren’t ready to face. The nurses and doctors, as caring as they could be, could only offer words of comfort that seemed almost contrived, made their rounds in and out of the room. The hospital chaplain had made a visit, offered a prayer and said he would be back in a little while. They all knew when that would be. The lines went flat. The numbers dropped to zero. Though they knew it was coming, they all gasped; “Where’s our miracle, God!”
His life and mission was ending much too soon. He had seen God’s mighty power work through his hands and teaching, but the leaders did not understand. They were threatened. He hung gruesomely on a cross between two criminals. With his human life slipping away he lifts his head toward heaven and screams, “My God, my God, why have you for forsaken me?”
Our savior, the Son of God, suffered the pain and anguish of his last days on earth so he could know and share in the anguish, pain and suffering of each of us. “God so loved the world [us] that he gave his only son that whosoever believes in him may have eternal life.” This is the message of the season of Lent. No matter what our circumstance may be. No matter how bad life seems to get. No matter the amount of suffering we have to endure, God, through His Son, has experienced it for us and with us.
In your struggles today, please know that God Almighty, our Father in heaven, is walking through it with you and truly knows how you feel. Reach out your hand and place it in His. Draw from His strength and power and know that He is your God.
Rev. J. Pete Hyde, Senior Pastor
Santa Rosa Beach Community Church