My sister committed suicide - rocking our family to the core. My life was filled with many emotions and questions, and none was bigger than the “Why?” question.
In 1984, my family was dealt a big blow. First, my father suffered a heart attack in which the doctors had to “shock” his heart to where it would beat again. About a month later, he suffered another milder heart attack and had to be hospitalized for several days.
About this same time, my sister was dealing with some serious depression. She was not happy with her job and really searching for what direction she wanted to go with her employment. Between my dad’s heart attacks, she made a half-hearted attempt to take her life. I say half-hearted because she took poison, then drove herself to the hospital afterwards. However, about a month later she didn’t just make a half-hearted attempt. Instead, she put a loaded gun to her head and pulled the trigger. For five days no one knew where she was. Finally, someone found her on a seldom used road on a farm of a friend she had visited. Our seemingly “perfect family” fell apart.
Because of this, I began to ask a logical question, “Why did you let this happen, God?” The world that I had grown up in had been shaken. My life was filled with many emotions and questions, and none was bigger than the “Why?” question.
The hardest part for me was dealing with all the many emotions I was feeling seemingly at one time. At one moment I was sad because I had lost my sister. The next moment I was mad at her for putting my family through such pain. Simultaneously I was mad at those for whom she had worked, as I wanted to blame them for her depression. At the same time I was confused because I knew there was a spiritual element involved that wanted to destroy my sister, my family, and my faith. Through it all, I still had the “why” question in the back of my mind. These were a lot of emotions to deal with for a person who is not very emotional, especially on the outside.
If I had insisted on having my “Why did you let this happen, God?” question answered to my satisfaction, I would have ended up a bitter and frustrated person. However, my question was answered in a totally unexpected way. Since God was the object of my “Why?” question, I felt it was only fair to go to His Word, the Bible, to find my answer. I remembered a little about the story of Job and all the suffering he went through, so I started reading there. Boy, was I surprised at what I saw.
The story begins with a conversation between God and Satan about Job, and Job knows nothing of this conversation. Basically God brags on his servant Job, but Satan accuses Job of only serving God because He had made Job’s life easy. Take away all of Job’s things, Satan counters, and Job won’t serve you at all. Job goes on to experience tremendous personal loss in terms of wealth, health, and family. Through it all he does not blame God nor turn his back on Him. Later in the story Job does begin to question God a little as he seeks some answers. But instead of answering Job, God begins asking Job some questions. And those questions God poses to Job allow him to see God for who He is - the Creator who is in control of all things. Instead of getting the answer to “why”, Job was given the answer of “who”.
Through my reading of Job I began to realize some very important things. First, this life is not all about me. It is about the Maker of the universe. He has the right to do as He pleases. Second, there are a lot of things that go on that I’m not aware of (remember God’s conversation with Satan about Job?). Therefore, I need to be rightly related to the One who is in control and trust Him to lead this life. Third, I became more aware of the spiritual battle that is going on in our world between good and evil. My sister was experiencing this fierce battle and began to believe the lies that mankind’s spiritual enemy tries to get us to believe. She began to believe lies like her life was not worth living and that God was not pleased with her. It made me recall something I read that Jesus said in the book of John. Jesus said, “The thief comes only to steal, kill, and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” I knew I didn’t want to fall prey to those lies and others like them, and I needed to read more of God’s Word for direction and purpose in life.
Since then I still have questions about things that happen in my life that aren’t what I might choose. But years ago I learned a very important lesson. Jesus Christ died on the cross to pay my spiritual death penalty. Through Him I can be rightly related to the One who created me for His pleasure. This life doesn’t go perfectly for anyone. We all have struggles. But now I know that I don’t have to go through those struggles alone. I have a loving Father in heaven that I can go to, and I find my greatest peace when I trust Him to deal with those struggles.
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