Dearest Friends,

The following story was sent by our dear friend, Ted, who is on our board of directors. Some of you may remember that his dear wife, Joy, went to be with the Lord in October. This is a very touching story!

“This morning someone very dear to me was driving to work, taking a different route than usual because of weather and associated circumstances, and came upon a man by the side of the road beginning to hang himself.

My friend pulled over and ran to the aid of the man. The man had a noose around his neck, and had affixed it to a roadside structure and was well into his intentions. He had turned blue of face. Another passer-by stopped and assisted my friend and got the man down. The man coughed and began to come around. Of course 911 was called.

While waiting for the 911 responders, my friend talked with the man and found out he was homeless. He was from another town. He said he did not want to live anymore.

When my friend told me about this event, my friend cried. Never having witnessed such a thing, it was disturbing and traumatizing enough to make any of us cry. But, knowing my friend, I think the tears came from a deeper place, for a deeper reason.

I think my friend’s tears were akin to the tears Jesus cried when Lazarus died. Jesus was sad His friend, Lazarus, was dead, but Jesus was also deeply sad His creation had come to this. Death had entered His creation because our idolatry generated the sin which lead to death. We make idols of all kinds of stuff. Especially ourselves. And there we are, standing around a tomb, lost and weeping. Alongside us, Jesus wept.

Jesus may have felt that same grief when He said, in Matthew 23:37-39, "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing." It’s enough to make God cry.

My friend saw a reality of our world this morning. Some people are left out, cast aside, or have cast themselves aside, so that they decide, on a cold, miserable morning, to hang themselves by the side of the road. The liar and accuser is still at work. But the Holy Spirit within my friend prompted deep caring and heartfelt response. My friend stopped and became the hands, non-condemning voice, and even the tears, of Jesus.

When my friend told me this story, I also became misty-eyed. I have cried more this past three months than I have all the rest of my days put together. The tears I cried with my friend this morning were also tears of joy. It is sad that we have made such a world where life is no longer worth living to some people, but it is joy that we do not grieve as those without hope, because Jesus stops by the side of the road on a cold, miserable morning.”