"Now there was a day..." (Job 1:6); "Thou hast made us to drink the wine of astonishment" (Psalm 60:3 KJV).
Not long after our son died I read something that gave me enormous comfort. A father who had just lost his cherished son ran into his pastor's study, literally screaming in his heart-pain, "Where was God when my son died?" The pastor, who knew the situation and grieved with the father, calmly said, "Right where He was when His own Son died."
The night Chuck died, as soon as we heard the scream and then immediately after that the blast of the shotgun, I thought of the Father and what He must have endured when His Son died. It was as if the Father commandeered my mind and guided me to His own broken parental Heart. Until that moment, when we drank the wine of astonishment, I never gave much thought to what God the Father suffered when His treasured and only-begotten Son was crucified.
In his book Night, Elie Wiesel tells of the day a group was coming back from work. They saw three gallows and three victims being mounted on chairs. The prisoners were forced to watch as the three were hung, one of them a child they all loved. The two adults died immediately, but "For more than half an hour [the child] stayed there, struggling between life and death, dying in slow agony under our eyes. And we had to look him full in the face." Wiesel heard someone behind him ask, "Where is God now?" Wiesel writes that a voice within him answered, "Where is He? Here He is--He is hanging here on this gallows."
Where is God when we are hanging in the winds? As that pastor told his frantic parishioner, right where He was with His own Son, when Jesus was slowly dying while being taunted by those who hated Him. I suppose it seems strange that such a morbid thought should give such comfort that it did but, human nature being what it is, if we know that the Comforter is present during such stunning moments when we feel like our insides are being ripped apart, yes, it does strengthen us. "Now there was a day..." Some can say, "Now there was a year, a lifetime." Every person born will have a day when he or she will drink from the cup of wonder. Jesus asked two of His disciples a question He asks us all, "Can you drink the cup that I am about to drink?" (Matthew 20:22.)
"Now there was a day" when God the Father watched and wept. He watched as His Son drank the cup which He, the Father, had given Him: "Shall I not drink the cup which My Father has given Me?" (John 18:11.) Job, too, asked, "Shall we indeed accept good from God, and shall we not accept adversity?" (Job 1:10.)
O good Father, thank You for refilling our cup with blessings!
Patricia Erwin Nordman