Some phone calls change your life forever in the most wonderful way: “I’m pregnant!”, “We’re engaged!”, “It’s a girl!”. But some phone calls just bring you to the end of everything you know and shake your world to its very core: “I’m sorry, but your cousin Jason died this morning.”
Sometimes life is beautiful and wonderful, and you think, “How could things ever get any better than this?” Moments when your child takes her first step or you laugh til you cry in bed with your spouse or you drive in the car with the windows down singing really loud to country music.
But sometimes, life is tragic and horrible and confusing and leaves you lying on your kitchen floor, tears landing on the wood floor as you cry out to God, “How could this happen? Why, oh God, why?”
And the painful truth is, we’ll probably never know this side of eternity why. It is the question we are most likely to ask and the question that God seems the least likely to answer. We won’t know why God, the creator and sustainer of life, did not sustain my cousin’s heart and breath. And honestly, any answer to the why question would not satisfy this side of heaven. There is no good reason that a parent should have to bury their child.
I do know that God sees and God knows and God cares. I know that He sympathizes with us in our pain because He wept at the tomb of His good friend. And in His greatest moment of agony on the cross, Jesus cried out, “My God, my God, WHY have you forsaken me?”
No, God doesn’t answer the question why, but God-made-man did ask the very question that haunts our hearts. “Why, God, why?”
Jesus said that He came to proclaim good news to the poor and to proclaim liberty to the captive and to bind up the broken-hearted.
And we, we are the broken-hearted. Jesus came for the likes of us.
Jesus is near to us in life’s victories, but this I know to be true: Jesus is also weeping beside us on the kitchen floor. He is holding the parents burying their very hearts in the ground with their full-of-life son. He is there. He knows. And He cares.
He knows. He sees. He cares.
It’s in these moments that I cling to His promise that some day, this world will be made new. That He will wipe away every tear from our eyes and death shall be no more. And I can declare with the apostle John, “Yes, Come quickly Lord Jesus.”
The pain is too much. The weight is too heavy. This is not how life was supposed to be.
My cousin Jason was a light. He was a joy. I have loved reading the words of his friends and family on his Facebook page the last couple days:
Jason was such a special person and had such a kind heart.
Thank you Mr. and Mrs. Schaeper for giving us all the wonderful gift that was the life of your son.
You were a great friend and person to be around. Something about the way you carried yourself and did your own thing made you one of a kind.
You were one of the most genuine and caring persons I know. I looked up to your ability to always see the greatness in others and in life itself.
A loving, kind person who could make anybody laugh.
You always made everyone feel like one of the best friends when you were around them, and were never shy about bringing it in for a brotherly hug.
One of the most genuine and sincere people I know.
Your smile was so contagious, and you always gave everyone great laughs. So kind and considerate, always trying help others out or just listen. A one of a kind type a guy.
Shhhh, Jason, don’t tell your cousins, but you were always one of my favorites! Funny, witty and easy to be around. I especially loved how sweet and attentive you always were to Grandma Nichols!
Jason, I love you. You were always such a joy to be around.
Jason, you are so loved. You always had a tender heart and light about you.
Jason, I love you. I remember when you sent Joanne a card right before she passed last year. It had a note of encouragement saying something about “When Pigs Fly”. We put in with her when she was buried. That touched my heart.
You’re a part of pretty much every great memory I have from WVU, man.
Such a great and genuine person. Jason had an infectious personality and he cared about every person he came across.
Thank You Jesus for the gift of Jason’s life. Please be near to pick up the pieces of our broken hearts as we experience the gaping hole left in our family by his absence.