My friend Mr. Wood was scheduled to have an early morning test done at the hospital and because his wife was a patient in the hospital, he had no one to accompany him. Knowing that he would have some difficulty if he went on his own, I arranged to accompany him.
It was a snowy morning, and the driving wasn’t good at all but after a bit of sliding around on the slippery roads, we got past that part of the day without incident. After parking the car, I came into the large registration area, and there was Mr. Wood, doing what he does best, chatting with one of the staff and inquiring about her well-being. Because of his diabetic condition and the fact that he wasn’t permitted to eat anything before the test, he was not in the best of shape, but this didn’t stop him from being sensitive about the needs of others. He was registered and given the appropriate papers and we headed off to the area where his test was to be conducted and waited there until the doctor was to see him. All of this took about 40 minutes, plenty of time to observe the many people who were coming and going.
The hospital is a busy place in the early hours. And while this was an important day for Mr. Wood, it was no doubt quite routine for the staff members. In observing the many patients waiting there, it was interesting to note that almost without exception, every patient had a caregiver with him or her. It’s only natural that people who are there for tests and other procedures are experiencing some stress and anxiety and comforting to have someone along for some moral support and encouragement.
Everyone coming to this area has to change his clothes and get decked out in the standard hospital issue, enough to cause some stress on any of us. Obviously, a number of those in the waiting room where husbands and wives and it just seems so natural that they would be together and I couldn’t help but think this was just a small picture of their sharing their lives with each other and made me think of King Solomon’s observation from the Bible. “Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labor. For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow; but woe to him who is alone when he falls, for he does not have another to help him.” (Ecclesiastes 4:9-10)
So as I reflected on what was taking place in this area and the obvious difference that caregiver makes to the patients, my mind turned to the day that the Lord Jesus dealt with that great crisis-day during his time here on Earth. After leaving the upper room where Jesus had kept the Passover feast with his disciples, they went out to the Mount of Olives. Jesus then said to them, “You will all fall away because of me this night. For it is written, ‘I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock will be scattered.’” (Matthew 26:31)
His disciples all reassured him, that this wouldn’t be the case, and they were willing to lay down their lives for him. They continued on to the garden of Gethsemane and very shortly thereafter, Judas led the armed mob to him. When he was betrayed and then arrested all the disciples left Jesus and fled. We can only imagine what the Lord’s thoughts were as he watched his friends fleeing for their lives. He was left to face the judgment of man and God alone. He stood before pilot and refused to defend himself, no matter how ludicrous the charges against him were led off to be crucified. The only help he had was that of a man called Simon who was forced to carry at the cross of the Lord Jesus to Calvary.
The words of the psalmist reveal his feelings when he says, “Reproach has broken my heart, and I am full of heaviness; I looked for some to mourn with me, but there was none; for comforters, but I found none.” (Psalm 69:20)
On the cross and among the crowd that stood around the cross, and those who passed by, he didn’t see so much as one friendly face, not one look of sympathy or concern. All of these disappointments he could cope with but when the three hours of darkness were drawing to a close, he cried out, “my God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”
No doubt he understood very well that it was sin; our sin; your sin; my sin that was separating him from his God. His cry was for our benefit so that we might understand that when he died, he died alone.
He dealt with the sins of the world in order that no man would ever have to be alone. To those who place their faith in Him as personal Savior. He makes a sure and certain promise, I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you. Truly, Jesus Christ is the friend that sticks closer than a brother.