On July 9, 2012, for no apparent reason, my father chose to end this life and enter the next. These are some thoughts about how I’m dealing with the suicide of my dad while they are fresh on my heart.
A short bio: My father was a Christian – an exceptional one. He was saved by grace over 32 years ago. He was ordained as a Deacon to serve in 3 churches and boldly & sacrificially invested his money and time to God and His church. He loved teaching the Word of God (as a Sunday School teacher for 20+ years). But he especially loved witnessing to the lost about the power of the gospel to change a life! [This was his life’s mission.] His love for fishing and hunting created a unique bond with many men. He was a great friend and the best father a boy could ask for.
Suicide & the Christian
Since suicide is indeed a sinful act, and that is how his life ended, how do we reconcile that with his eternal state? Can a person who commits suicide go to Heaven? The answer is simple: if a person is truly saved, then ‘Yes’ they will go to Heaven. Our eternity is not up to what sins you do or don’t commit. God knew how my dad’s life would end – and He still chose to save him and use him – in spite of it. God’s grace is so overwhelmingly good like that! God saves us when He knows that we will never be perfect (just look at the Apostle Peter). My salvation doesn’t depend on which note my life ends on… it depends on who wrote the song. Read More about Eternal Security
How did Dad enter Heaven? Did he regret his decision? Was God surprised or displeased? The answers here aren’t easy – but I find them in the parable of the prodigal son. The son came home to his father because sin had left it’s mark and caused many scars. The father didn’t care. The son came home dirty… filthy and stinky. The father didn’t care. The son’s return was mistimed, but the father didn’t care! In the moment when our life (so-called) is swallowed up by the reality of eternal, abundant life – all else falls short. Nothing else matters. God’s grace has overcome and won – in spite of our sin and failures. He wore the royal robe and the ring. They ate and sang and danced together at the celebration. And best of all: he melted into the Father’s warm embrace. ‘Welcome home, son. I love you!’
For the Christian, nothing can separate us from the love of God. Absolutely nothing. Grace wins. God is so good.
Looking for Answers…
Answers slip through my fingers faster than sand. We don’t understand. We know he suffered physically. We know he was on a lot of medications – most of which still left him in a lot of pain. Was it that he was tired of the pain? Did the medicine cause him to ‘snap’? Was there something else? Was he worried about his life insurance running out too soon? Did retirement get to him? Was he disappointed in his relationships? Did he know something we didn’t?
It’s hard because there’s no place to put the blame. I’ve got a set of crosshairs ready to aim at the reason – but it’s so elusive that I can’t find the cause to place the blame. That makes it doubly-worse because now everyone close to him asks if the crosshairs belong on them. Was it ‘my’ fault? Could I have done something? Why didn’t I see this coming?
I believe it was the medicine. I truly do. I believe Satan saw an advantage of the crossed wires of too much of the wrong meds and presented him with the craziest escape plan ever. He didn’t plan it. He hadn’t really wanted to die; he was busy living. He was in the middle of 4-5 projects. He didn’t leave a note. He wasn’t rational about it… I truly believe it was a moment of drug-induced ‘insanity.’ He was not himself. (I’m not trying to make excuses for him – but this is the only thing that seems to make sense to me.)
Comfort in Grief
Grief is a funny thing. It randomly rolls in like waves over my soul. Sometimes it comes alone – sadness only – but sometimes it brings a partner… Regret. Blame. Anger. Without warning and for no apparent reason, the sadness creeps in and opens the flood-gate of tears. I have many great memories. He was a top-shelf kind of man. He had great character and a hard work ethic. He was a faithful man; a servant of God. He loved his family and took good care of us. He left us a legacy of faith. I owe him a debt of gratitude and I know that even though I wear size 15, I’ll never fill his shoes. I just miss him and wish for more time. I’m thankful that my last memory with him is a happy one of him smiling and laughing with all of us. Read More about How I Find Joy in Pain
Sometimes, I feel pity for dad’s pain. Many times, a song will carry me through it. Most times, I find an inexplicable peace in God’s sovereign control. (I know that nobody can enter eternity without His permission – in Him alone is the power of life and death.) Sometimes I feel orphaned and abandoned. Many times, I sense a greater Presence – one of comfort and peace. Most times, God buoys me up with His Word. Every time (so far), my heart has somehow found refuge in the hope and expectation of the resurrection.
It’s the moment when humanity
Is overcome by majesty,
When grace is ushered in for good
And all the scars are understood,
When mercy takes its rightful place
And all these questions fade away,
When out of the weakness we must bow
And hear You say “It’s over now.”
Even though a part of me has died,
You take my heart and breathe it back to life.
I’ve fallen into your arms open wide
When the hurt and the Healer collide.