If you or someone you know is struggling with suicidal thoughts, please reach out to the National Suicide Hotline: 800-273-8255.
At 4 a.m. on Sept. 28, 2016, my son, Connor Howell, put a gun to his left temple and pulled the trigger.
I woke up thinking he was drunk and had knocked something over. Then, I smelled gunpowder and saw him lying on the floor of his room.
I rushed to him and starting praying. I remember telling him—if he could hear me—that I didn't know if he would live or die, but if he did die, not to look left or right, only to rush to Jesus.
My son was a Christian. So was Jarrid Wilson, who took his own life only days ago. My son had problems with substance abuse and depression, and he couldn't sleep. These symptoms were something Wilson, a pastor, understood all too well in his efforts to help others.
Wilson's wife described him as, "Loving, giving, kind-hearted, encouraging, handsome and hilarious."
These attributes and more describe our son Connor. When I talk to others who have suffered this type of loss, they say the same about their loved ones.
Often, I find it is the bright and compassionate people whom we lose. Because of their intellect, they tend to underestimate what they become involved in, like drugs or other substance abuse, thinking they can quit at any time. On the compassionate side, they often struggle with the hurt in the world and why God would allow it.
Wilson said the following on Twitter:
Loving Jesus doesn't always cure suicidal thoughts
Loving Jesus doesn't always cure depression
Loving Jesus doesn't always cure PTSD
Loving Jesus doesn't always cure anxiety
But, that doesn't mean Jesus doesn't offer us companionship and comfort
He always does that.
What are we to do if we can't trust Jesus to fix us when we are in this type of condition? Is it enough to know He is with us, but He is silent in our pain? If He healed by faith in the Bible when they asked by faith, why doesn't He heal us too?
There are those among us who, when they see these questions, would say God does not exist—and if He did exist, what kind of monster must He be to let His beloved creation suffer and die in such a cruel way?
I don't have all the answers, but I will share what I believe and what I have observed up until this point:
First, we live in a fallen world.
The idea that when we become Christians we are suddenly protected from harm and will live carefree lives is in direct opposition to what we see in the Bible and certainly the 12 disciples, the majority of whom died by assorted and violent means.
In fact, often the opposite is true. If life was a cakewalk after we are saved, why would we need the Holy Spirit?
Christianity is a contact sport, and to be victorious in this life, we need spiritual power from above.
Second, all things work to the good for those who love God (Rom. 8:28).
While suicide is horrific on its face, God would not be God if He couldn't use it for good.
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