I would like to share with you my story of suffering. I thought you might relate and help you deal with your own.
My husband and I knew what was happening to Michael and it was breaking our hearts. We sat and talked with him. We took away privileges as a form of discipline. But those kids would come and get him anyway. I pleaded with him to stop. Warn him that their influence was dangerous to his health and well-being.
I prayed and prayed with tears in my eyes begging God to grant Michael mercy and intervene. With the influence of his friends so strong, we knew we were at the losing end. In our desperation, I took him to Philippines and stayed there for seven weeks. Free from drugs and alcohol, for the first time during those weeks when Michael was 17, he was carefree and genuinely happy. He was himself as we knew him to be. But then the seven weeks ended and he took up with the old group and back with their influence once again.
My husband applied for jobs in hope to take him away. He applied for twenty-four jobs before he was finally accepted into one. We prayed for this. God waited three years to move us. In all that time, Michael’s condition had deteriorated. He became more and more depressed. Three weeks into the move, when we finally were able to take him away, he took his own life.
If that wasn’t enough, Michael could not be found. He planned his death. Walking away from that hotel was his way of protecting us. But he didn’t tell us where he went. He was on foot and couldn’t have gone far, but no one could find him. I knew that my baby was gone from me but not knowing where he might be was killing me. It was in the middle of winter. I worried about the harsh element that he was exposed to. I would look out the window and tears would just fall from my eyes. There was no closure. We held his memorial service without knowing his whereabouts. Days turned into weeks. Weeks turned into months. It was not to be until two and a half months later until someone finally found him. Granting his silent request, on burial day, I can only hug a closed casket.
In between the day when he disappeared and the day before and during the memorial, people made hurtful and insensitive comments. If they only knew the depth of pain that we were going through, maybe they’d be more sympathetic. But they didn’t. It was not their pain. They could not relate.
When God gave me my share of suffering, He went all out. It brought me down to my knees.
Why oh why? I cried to God. Why all these? I thought I was doing what a good Christian was supposed to do. Why was God silent to my plea? Did He not see my tears? Did I not do right by raising my Michael to Him? Then it must have been me, I thought. I knew we did our best but I also knew we could have done more. I could have done more. And so I blamed myself. This is now a punishment for all my sins. And this burden of guilt buried me in despair.
It took weeks of crying on my knees praying to God to forgive me and just reflecting on His words before I realized the truth of what He was trying to tell me all along. Everything that happened to us was really not about me nor was it about Michael. Michael strayed away from the truth. But more than that, it really is all about God. He is in full control of our lives. In His own time, He will make what seems senseless to us to fit into His plan. Until the day when we finally meet our Creator, and He reveals to us the reasons why, we need to live by faith in Him. Trust Him because our living God is all-knowing.
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.
I didn’t fully understand the significance of this verse until I came face to face with such deep anguish. The revelation of the truth of God’s words through Paul finally spoke to my heart and mind. God knows in detail what is going happen to us in the future. He knows how life is going to end for each one of us.
While the Bible is silent on the subject of suicide, God commanded his children to choose life. He wants them to live.
This day I call heaven and earth as witness against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live.
It is not God’s will for our life to end through suicide. But He knows that we live in a fallen world where sin, temptation, illness, and suffering exist. He also knows that Christians are not immune.
While I may not fully understand the extent of Michael’s depression, God did. He understood perfectly the depth of Michael’s suffering. God allowed my son to suffer and through his suffering and death, others may come to Christ and have hope. Through this website, Michael’s life becomes a testament of how God gives mercy.
God’s love and grace is clearly evident in the verses below. God in His infinite wisdom gives us the assurance of His words. God our Lord will gather our loved ones in His loving arms. He is forever faithful to His children.
11For this is what the Sovereign Lord says: I myself will search for my sheep and look after them.12 As a shepherd looks after his scattered flock when he is with them, so will I look after my sheep. I will rescue them from all places where they were scattered on a day of clouds and darkness.
16I will search for the lost and bring back the strays. I will bind up the injured and strengthen the weak, but the sleek and the strong I will destroy. I will shepherd the flock with justice.
22I will save my flock and they will no longer be plundered. I will judge between one sheep and another.
23I will place over them one shepherd (Jesus, through the line of David), my servant David, and he will tend them and be their shepherd.
24I the Lord will be their God, and my servant David will be prince among them, I the Lord have spoken.
Ezekiel 34:11–12; 16; 22–24
God’s extended mercy doesn’t mean that we have his blessing to end our life through suicide knowing that we would go to heaven. I encourage you to read the Depression Page to understand what God’s will is for his beloved children when trials comes to our lives.
I have learned a lot from my suffering. God tested my faith in ways that is beyond my ability to understand but through it, I’ve learned to know his will for my life and Michael’s. The experience drove me to repentance (complete surrender) and humility. And because of it, I have grown closer to my Lord. I don’t want to be separated from Him at all. I seek His will in everything.
God is using me. My website would not be possible had it not been for my recent life experiences. The Jesus film ministry that our family started in the Philippines is bearing fruit. God is blessing it. Local missionaries are on the ground, showing God’s love through the film and issuing an invitation to come to Christ. Souls are being saved. Praise God!
In the midst of my life’s changing experiences, God did not let go. Even when I was buried in the darkest part of my life, He was there. I felt His presence. If He allowed me to go through such painful suffering and I can still stand up, then I know without a doubt that He will be with me until He takes me home to His Kingdom and Michael and I can be together again.
I would like to leave you with these verses on how to deal with suffering.
Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish it’s work so that you may be mature and complete.
Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice that you participate in the suffering of the Christ, so that you maybe overjoyed when His glory is revealed.
1 Peter 4:12-13
So then, those who suffer according to God’s will should commit themselves to their faithful Creator and continue to do good.
I Peter 4:19
Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.
2 Corinthians 4:16-18
What a wonderful words of comfort. This world is just our temporary home. Our permanent home is Heaven. In this sinful world, we will have sufferings. But God wants us to look beyond the physical aspect of suffering. He promised Heaven. Here is God’s promise of Heaven that we can relate to:
He will wipe away every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.
God himself will wipe away our tears. God knew about our sufferings. He doesn’t leave his own children to suffer alone. And He promise rewards for our perseverance. That is a promise you can rely on. So please don’t despair. Have HOPE and PEACE.
My prayer for you
My dear Heavenly Father, please comfort your child who is suffering today. Without your love God, we could not survive such painful suffering. Please teach us how to come to you in complete surrender. Only through a complete surrender Lord that we will have your peace. And we know that the peace you give surpass all understanding. I pray this in Jesus precious name—Amen.
And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.Philippians 4:7