The sun had set and we were wrapping things up for the evening, getting babies in bed, dishes washed, ready to call it a night. I was getting excited my brother was coming for a visit that weekend, so before I turned I called to finalize plans. Five minutes after leaving a message the phone rang, it was a call from my mother. Charley and my mom lived together so I figured she heard my message and was calling me back. I was holding our baby, in a horribly upset voice she told me put him down. “He’s dead, He’s gone, Charley is dead!” my mother cried into the phone. She was not returning my call but calling from the hospital. I honestly did not believe her when she told me. My response now looking back seemed callous, but I argued he was not. The call ended as she had to go and I ran outside with every emotion running through me at once. I was crying and beating the side of our truck like it would relive some of the pain. We lived in Indiana and as far as you could see it was flat open land; suddenly my voice seemed so small in the outdoors, it made me stop and the serenity of the night quieted me. The wonderous size of it all and the awareness of my Creator made everything seem much smaller. The Lord instilled a calm in me and spoke so clearly to my heart, “Hold on to me and do not let go.”
My dear brother took his own life, I know this grieves the Lord. He loves us and tells us, “I will not in any way fail you, nor give you up nor leave you without support. I will not, I will not, I will not in any degree leave you helpless nor forsake nor let you down (relax My hold on you) [assuredly not!].” Hebrews 13:5.
Holding onto those words my entire being ached. Let me share a prayer I jotted down after all this happened. O Lord my heart is torn, and my breath is short, I stand amid what seems like a dream. The fog thickens and my vision is blurred. My head throbs and my tears have run dry. What do I do now? Will they tell me this is not true? That they have made a mistake? A part of my life is here no more. I must go on; I cannot leave as he did. Your presence is peaceful and strong. Your works that surround me are majestic. Fill me Father so I can walk back into this life that is waiting for me. For you are my rock and my strength, I cannot go on without you. I praise you Lord, for you surround me with your love. I straighten up and take a step. I am walking Father stay by my side.
How we all know these words all too well. Maybe not the loss through suicide, but grief and loss through death, a job that is gone, relationships that have ended, illness, a pet dear to us is gone, a time of sadness that finds us through circumstances beyond us, BUT GOD never leaves us! In Psalm 23 He says , “Yes, though I walk through the [deep, sunless] valley of the shadow of death, I will fear or dread no evil, for You are with me; Your rod [to protect] and Your staff [to guide], they comfort me.” I love the word through, that means we will see the other side! The pain of grieving is normal but keeping things in perspective is vital.
I knew Charley’s passing was not God’s plan, His plan is for good. Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know the plans and thoughts that I have for you and well-being and not for disaster to give you a future and hope.” It made me angry that he was gone. The anger I felt went toward the enemy, that is a good target rather than a person. Jesus already defeated the enemy and keeping that in the forefront of my mind helped to keep the proper perspective. Victory already is ours through Christ. I just had to hang tough and believe. Charley had struggled with anxiety and depression for years. Just because we know the Lord it does not make us immune to struggles but it does mean we have the One who cares about us and will walk with us through those times. It means we have the One who has answers and rose victorious! He has made this victorious life available to every one of us!
The last I heard, my brother was coming for a visit and making plans for the future. He was preparing to start an internship with a Congressman’s office, hosting two radio shows and he was attending an excellent University on a scholarship. I mention all this because he had a full life, and nothing happened to him that explained why! He knew the Lord; how could this have happened? Depression and anxiety are prevalent in our society today and a very real thing people deal with. I am not a Dr. nor prescribing medical advice but I am passionate about sharing an answer everyone needs. One that works and has stood the test of time. I do know that whatever caused my brother’s pain could have been overcome without the answer being suicide. Charley missed out on healing and God’s best for his life. He cut it short! So many of us do that without even knowing. We choose to doubt or continue seeking other things instead of believing in ourselves or that there is a God that loves us and has a plan for our lives.
We are created with a purpose and intentionally. I had struggled for years trying to figure out what God had called me to do. He is not trying to hide it from us, it is not a difficult mystery. I personally would prefer a reciepe I could follow and then BAM! I get the results! 100 steps to having Life according to Gods will! Yeah, it does not work that way! He gives us enough light for the next step. Faith is how He wired us to walk, with Him, one step at a time! Often it is right in front of you! The problem is we want the end result in the beginning! We need to trust that God has a good plan for us and step by step He will take us down the path to the results we are longing for!