Today, a dear friend of mine is being laid to rest in San Antonio, Texas. Mr. eL. is there today, speaking at the funeral. I am left alone with my grief in this big empty house, minding the ongoings of everyday life. The kids are in school. I have to work tomorrow. There is more laundry than I care to do. And yet, this is the last place I want to be today.
This tragedy is one of the glaring reasons for my silence in writing over the past few weeks. It has, simply, turned our world upside down. While I had only known her for a few months, we are part of a tightly-knit military family. She and her husband are our regular double-date friends. We frequently took turns cooking each other dinner, hauling picnics down to the beach, and mixing cocktails on the back porch. To say that we were all stunned by her passing is a gross understatement. In a moment of panic and hopelessness, our friend chose to take her own life – we never saw it coming.
It has almost become cliche that “suicide is selfish.” I’ve heard it over and over, but until I experienced it directly, I never understood how true it really is. Suicide may provide an easy way out, but it is anything but easy for everyone that is left behind. The problem isn’t solved; It is spread out to every loved one, then amplified by grief and unrealistic guilt.
I have questioned God so many times over the past week. “Where were You when she felt so helpless? Why didn’t You intervene? How do we get through this?”
The morning before she died, I posted this quote from C.S. Lewis: “God, who foresaw your tribulation, has specially armed you to go through it, not without pain but without stain.” I don’t believe in coincidences.
God, Abba Father, had no part in her decision. He gave her free will, as He does all of us. But, He knew her decision before she made it. While He could not change the tragedy, He did faithfully equip us to go through it. He intricately placed us all, on that Friday, where we could be available to support her husband. He arranged for my family to already be in town so they could shield my children. He placed loving care around each of her loved ones to be His arms of grace and mercy. He promises that He can carry those she left behind to the other side of this raging sea.
After you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you. – 1 Peter 5-10
Please, send your prayers and good thoughts to our friends during this horrific tragedy. Pray for strength and restoration. Above all, pray for God’s peace that [really does] surpass all understanding to be felt during the coming weeks.
There is nothing so great that God can’t handle. He begs us to cast our cares on Him because He cares for us.