The footballing world was shocked by the announcement of the death of Gary Speed today (article, ESPN). The former Premiership great and current Wales manager was 42.
I’m grateful Heavenly Father has blessed us with empathy. Because we all need support, we have been given the ability to understand the feelings of others. Obviously we can never understand exactly how someone feels because that is directly determined by each person’s interpretation of his/her life experiences, but we can get close to understanding them.
My heart reaches out to express my condolences to the Speed family, to Mr Speed’s wife and children. Only in my imagination can I begin to imagine what it would be like for my father to die at his own hand. But I know it would be a horrible feeling and those children will be affected forever. I empathize with the psychological struggles they will have as they search for understanding of their father’s action.
I know enough from my own experience being single and enough learned from talking with single parents that I would never want my spouse to die, let alone at such a young age or while children were at home. Honestly, that may be one of the things that scares me the most about getting married–potential to end up where I am now before I’m out of my 20s.
So as I feel for others’ pains and struggles, I am grateful for that capability. It helps me understand what Jesus did while He was in Gethsemane. He experienced all the pain, sorrow, guilt, sin, and consequences thereof of every one of God’s children. He did this to pay the price and so when we are in our darkest times, we can take comfort and strength in knowing we are not alone. Not only can He empathize, He went through it.
But giving us the gift of empathy, we can begin to understand what He did for us.