My friend died this week.
It has been really tough, tougher than I thought it would be. I just talked to him the other week and IM’d him only a few weeks ago. In those interactions, I had no idea it would be the last time.
He took his life and I believe he was only in his early 40s. I would have never imagined that would happen, though I know he was going through some pretty challenging circumstances.
It’s times like this that life just grinds to a halt. You sit there in a daze. You walk around in a daze. Things like tasks and urgent matters suddenly seem not so important.
The question that becomes asked the most is, why? His faith was genuine, and he was in vocational ministry. Why would a Christ-following, gifted, loved person do something like that? Given his circumstances in some sense I can understand why. But there comes a huge grappling of faith, wondering, what difference does it make to follow Christ, when one who has chosen such a path comes to a point of such hopelessness and desperation that life is no longer worth living?
And then knowing myself how tough the loneliness of leadership in ministry can be, I wonder if his being in ministry actually contributed to the path that he ended up taking.
It causes me to grapple with these questions, because being a pastor in ministry myself, it impacts the core belief that I have that Christ is our strength and hope even when everything looks hopeless. What difference does it make to be in ministry if I don’t believe that the God I believe in can heal and help even in the worst of situations?
To my core, I believe that God’s love and faithfulness is unshakable. My tendency is to lose hope in people, as they seem to be the cause of so much pain. But a loving God who loves me beyond what I can ever understand chose to create us to be in co-existence with each other. Not only co-existence, but interdependence. An interdependence where we live out God’s redemptive purposes in each others’ lives.
So tonight I lay on the sofa, saddened by my friend’s death and other circumstances that have happened recently. I literally felt a pain in my chest, as if my heart were broken. Like other people, I hate pain. When this happens, I try to get busy doing other stuff to take my mind off of it. But tonight, I embraced it.
I remembered how Christ carried our grief and pain and sin and how he has endured even more than we have. I remembered that God is grieved even more than I can understand. I and my friends who knew this friend are broken-hearted. Facebook posts show the grief that so many are experiencing as a result of this. But God sees and carries all of us and our grief, though to some it may seem beyond bearing.
On another note, part of the reason I think today has been so tough is because I have been gone all week on a trip and felt totally overwhelmed. Besides all my work stuff, my desk at home has accumulated great amounts of paper since I am the administrative person in the family. This is what has piled up in just the 3 days I have been gone (my desk was pretty empty before I left):
Well, I guess I can say the title of my book I’m Not Neat But I’m Organized is not a lie!