When I was thirteen years old my mother and father had an argument. I suppose it was more of a fight really when you take all the yelling into account. This was fairly normal around my home and so when my mother took my sister and I to the grocery store for a couple hours we thought nothing of leaving my father alone at the house in a rage. Imagine our surprise when we came home to emergency crews finishing up with the burned out shell of our home. My father had set fire to our trailer and then taken his own life. It was not an ordinary day after all.
My father felt he was a burden to us and that we were better off without him. This was his way of forcing us into a new life that would not include him. He did not warn us ahead of time, or cry out for help in any obvious way. He simply decided one afternoon on July 18th, 1990 to end his own life. We do not know what went through his mind in the time we were at the grocery store. We do not know why he suddenly decided to pour oil and gas throughout our mobile home and garage, then lit it on fire with a loaded 9mm in his hand.
There was a time before I can remember, perhaps before I was born, when my father was a very enthusiastic Christian. I am told he used to pull a trailer out into a field for a pastor to preach from before a church was built there. My mother says that his Christian fervor lasted several years. I regret that I never had the chance to meet that man. The one I knew started out as a good man, but became increasingly angry and bitter as the years went by. He never touched alcohol or hit anyone, yet was one of the most petty and vengeful people Iíve ever known.
I believe the loss of his adopted parents may have played a part in his decline. Itís hard for me to know, as his adopted father passed before I was born and I was only six years old when his mother died of lung cancer after a long struggle in the hospital. I know he never overcame the feeling of betrayal at finding out he was adopted, and was not on good terms with his adopted parents when they died. To my knowledge he never actually found his biological parents, though what he did discover about them was unpleasant.
At some point in my fatherís walk with Christ he simply stopped and left. He turned against the only one who could save him, the only one who could give him strength to persevere and find purpose. Without Christ my father was lost, and every step he took away from the Lord hardened his heart to his own actions. I do not believe the Holy Spirit ever leaves us once we have it, but I do believe we can lock it away and ignore it if we choose to.
Had my father held to his faith and called upon the Lord in his times of need, he might still be here. He lost faith though, and in the end made a final decision that can never be changed. He decided that there was no reason to live, and that he either didnít believe in the Lord or that he hated him and didnít want his help. When he lit the match and pulled the trigger he may as well have screamed from a mountain top at God, ďYOU ARE POWERLESS TO HELP ME!Ē
Acts 2:21 And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.
I learned a valuable lesson from my father on July 18th, 1990. We canít do it alone, and if we try to we will inevitably fail. The Lord is always there for us, waiting for us to call his name. We have to acknowledge him though. God gave us free will to make that choice and the Lord with all his power is forced to let us make our choice even if it is to turn our back on him.
If someone in your life has ever thought of suicide it is because they are overwhelmed and see no hope. They truly believe no one can help them. They have stopped calling on the Lord, and desperately need help finding the faith they have lost. We cannot save them, but we can help guide them back to the Savior who can.