Time to Ponderby Katie Foth on 12/08/18
Recently I learned of an acquaintance, a college-aged kid, who sadly took his life through a drug overdose. I hadn't interacted with him for years, though I was connected on FaceBook.
Noah was a mere child when my husband and I took care of him and his siblings, around age four. We sat around the kitchen table with him and his older siblings, playing a game of Apples to Apples. He had laid out the card "Soft" and was collecting response cards from all of us players. A bright child, he giggled as he turned over the card I'd donated, "Underwear." Such a pleasure to hear his delightful laugh and watch that childish grin! If only his life held more of that delight in recent days! I believe he knew Jesus, yet lost sight of God's goodness. Life overwhelmed him.
I am reminded of another young boy whom I had watched as a teenager. While his mother taught group piano lessons in the basement of her split-level home, I entertained three-year-old Robert. We crashed cars, built block towers, played board games, and ran around in the back yard while his older brothers amused themselves. I told him stories. When he grew up enough to amuse himself while his mother taught piano, I only babysat occasionally, usually late evenings when his parents enjoyed a special date.
My little sister occasionally played with Robert, and she shared the good news of Jesus with him. I had not done so, since his parents were atheists and did not welcome such conversations. My sister was perhaps eight at the time, and her friendship with Robert dwindled after her "violation" of their desires. But one day, when Robert was a teen, my mother invited him over to enjoy a family meal. I was in college, away from home at the time. Mom told me that Robert stayed and stayed and stayed. She surmised he must have been lonesome. Or was he waiting to hear good news of salvation? Sometime later, my mother shared upsetting news. Robert had committed suicide by jumping off a bridge.
I think back to times that I have been so sad that life seemed unbearable. I understand how problems can become so overwhelming that one can not see a way out, how mistakes and sins multiply to the point of obliterating any hope. But there is hope. God knows our weaknesses; He understands our frame. He cares for us.
I don't understand why it seems that God lets some fall, why it seems He doesn't intervene. He is the healer of broken hearts. He is not willing that any should perish. So why doesn't He break through the shell that we build around ourselves, the self-imposed shell that isolates us from others? Is the love of God thus wasted?
The only answer I can see to my questions is faith. It seems questions always come back to that truth. We're human. God is, after all, God. He doesn't have to answer our doubts and criticisms (though He sometimes eventually does, as Job learned). God invites us to draw near to Him, to set our affection on Him, to trust, to have faith.
I choose to believe the promise of God's Word that nothing can separate us from the love of God revealed in Christ. Not fears, not death, not the powers of hell. I hope you do too, even if you have to cry out, "Lord, help my unbelief!"