This past week I found out that a childhood friend had passed away. My heart breaks for his family. But what makes it so hard is not just his death, but how he died. He took his own life.
Those words are painfully hard to hear. As many of you know, I lost my father to a suicide. Knowing the long road ahead for this family is the worst part about it.
Holidays, birthdays, family vacations.
Anytime I hear about this I’m reminded of my own pain. But I am also reminded of God’s goodness.
The difficult part is trying to not be angry at God, because He is the only one that can truly comfort. Nothing that is said, not act that is done, nothing can make it “better.” These things can and do help, but they don’t change what has happened.
And so if you find yourself in a particularly difficult time right now. I want you to know that things can get better. I say “can” because it does take work on your part. Time helps, but it doesn’t heal. Letting yourself feel your pain, being vulnerable with a few close friends, seeking the Lord; these things help you get better. Not holding everything in.
But things can become normal again, it’s a new normal for sure, and there will be times like a scab ripping off a healing wound where your pain will come back, but a new normal nonetheless.
So if that’s you right now, and you’re struggling, let me just ask you one question.
Where else are you going to turn?
There is nothing in this world that can heal you. There are all sorts of things we can do to mask our pain; substance abuses, working non-stop, trying to hide your pain and never feel it, but things are only temporary reliefs that leave you still struggling.
Some of the sweetest and closest times I have had with God were in the year following my father’s death.
I love what Paul writes in 2 Corinthians,
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too.
The God of all comforts. And through our suffering, we can help others who are suffering.
Turn to Jesus. Ask him to reveal himself to you. Because temporary things can only temporarily satisfy.
Lastly, I love what pastor/theologian Tim Keller says when that although we may not fully know why God allows so much suffering in this life, one thing we do know is this:
It isn’t because God doesn’t care, because if he didn’t care, he wouldn’t have come.
In fact, no one cares more than him.
And if you could, please say a prayer for our family friends who have lost a son. They road ahead will be difficult, but the love and mercy of God is greater.
The LORD is a stronghold for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble. And those who know Your name put their trust in You, for You, O LORD, have not forsaken those who seek You.