It was a long day today. I finished working with a team of folks who travelled from all over the country to spend the last two days here. We discussed all sorts of issues and by the time my guests left for their various homes, all was well. People were energized, ready to once again confront the problems of the world with a renewed sense of purpose and vigor.
Then Janet, our daughter Jill and I all headed out to dinner at one of our favorite restaurants. As I am sure you can imagine, training can be an intense experience and when I complete my work, I tend to chill out and just want to relax. So a quiet dinner with part of the family was just what I needed. Part way through the meal I received a phone call from one of my co-workers at a particular client company I work with. In an instant, all that quiet and solitude slid into the background as I received the news that one of this young person’s family friends had committed suicide this morning.
Of course, she was quite distraught. She had known the victim for a number of years and apparently, nobody even knew that he was a drug addict. He was able to function quite well and hid his addiction from even his closest friends. But then, in an instant, it was over as his life ended. One of the pastoral roles I play is that of company chaplain so the call to me was to ask for prayer. The request is quite common in my line of work. After all, we pray before meetings, praying for guidance, wisdom and to be in the will of God. The entire company lives in a mode of submission to God and and there are even employees who consider themselves prayer warriors and ask me on a daily basis what type of prayer coverage we need.
But being asked to pray for someone who died of an overdose, who possibly even committed suicide, is something entirely different. Undoubtedly, the family is suffering and friends of the victim are in turmoil – perhaps even wondering how they missed the signs of addiction. Many times when things like this happened, some people even have quilt over their inability to have identified the problem – even though many addicts are tremendously skilled at hiding their addictions. But none of this makes the reality of a lost life any easier to bear. So the question becomes, “What do I pray for?”
Was this person so troubled that they just didn’t see any way out? And what about reaching out to God and turning your problems over to him, which is what I wrote about last evening? Or did this unfortunate tragedy happen because the young person didn’t believe in God and thought the situation was hopeless? Or… was the death an accident and did the person not intend to kill himself? This side of heaven, we will never know the answers to these questions.
Certainly, I am concerned about eternal life and whether this person was saved or not. And frankly, since each person must accept the free gift of eternal life offered from God, it’s too late for this to happen once a person has lost their physical life. The best course of action for all of us it to reach out and spread the Gospel message every chance we have; and once people believe in the Savior, then it is imperative that we continue to encourage them to really depend on God for all their needs. For God is the architect and author of our salvation.
The verse for this evening is from Is. 26:4, “Trust in the LORD forever, for the LORD, the LORD, is the Rock eternal.” My encouragement this evening is to announce the good news of Jesus Christ everywhere you can. My sincere prayer is that the young person who lost his life this morning is being welcomed into heaven this evening; and that his family will depend on the Father for comfort and peace during this time of loss. Have a great day in the Lord, grace and peace…