Saturday, September 19, 2009

Who Do You Call When You're in Trouble?

No matter who you are-religious or non-religious-you call on someone when your life has hit bottom. We call friends, family or seek solace in a deep need for silence. Sometimes when I'm hurting, I don't want to talk to anyone. When I am in that place, I feel there is no need to explain myself. My answer is always the same-life is filled with trials, tragedies and disappointment. We all have our ways of handling what life hands off to us.

However, when it comes to God, we have two responses, according to Pastor Alistair Begg: we call on God out of frustration asking why bad circumstances happen to us or we call on the Lord as our Father seeking comfort or wisdom. For some God is called on to curse Him for allowing suffering to come their way. We may never even acknowledge God in our lives. Yet when bad things come our way, we are spiritual enough to blame Him. Yet a true follower of God calls on the Lord because he know God cares and reaches out to Him as a hurting child reaches out to a father.

This week in the wealthy and highly safe community of Thousand Oaks, California, a recently divorced man reached the limits of his own suffering and took the lives of his two boys-twelve and seven-and then his own life. He brutally stabbed the boys and then overdosed himself using sleeping medication. Can you imagine the horror of one brother watching his father stab his sibling not knowing his own death was imminent.

After reading several newspaper articles, speaking to some individuals who know the man and from my own experience as a divorced husband, I've tried to grasp what would drive a man to take the lives of his beloved children to assuage his own pain. One article reported he lost his million dollar home and was living in a nearby apartment complex. He saw his children frequently and was a member of a large Thousand Oaks church thus providing him a spiritual support team. His life was not without some positives.

The deceased was also in the midst of a custody battle with his ex-wife. Did she see some severe emotional issues in her former husband that caused her to have concern about the safety of her kids? Perhaps he took the kids out of this life to keep them from his wife. I don't know and never will.

How does a human become so lost, hopeless and desperate? Why didn't he just take his own life and leave the children out of his misery? He could have spared them the suffering of the stabbing and given them the sleep medicine? My mind fires off so many questions.

My biggest question is my concern that this frantic man failed to throw himself in desperation to his knees and call out to His divine Father. Can life get so hopeless that there truly is no hope?

The Thousand Oaks man did lose his job a few weeks ago, yet the resources to find employment are many. His children still loved him and wanted to be with him. He still had a roof over his head and lived in an upscale community. To my knowledge he was not an ill man struck with chronic pain or illness. Other doors of opportunity still lay open before him. He attended a large church and was connected to a small support group of people also experiencing divorce.

This man had many reasons to live and to allow his children to remain unharmed. Yet I guess there is a hopelessness that can cripple the human spirit to a point of self-destruction.

I am too much of an optimist to ever allow myself to arrive at that point. I fear hopelessness. I run from it. If I ever consider a life without hope, I fall before God and call out on my Father for help. When I have nothing left to give, my faith is gone and I don't feel like living one more day, it is my Father's love that gives me the hope to survive.

My heart goes out to this woman who lost her children. Even if she was a miserable human being and made her ex-husband's life a living hell, another human has no right to inflict punishment by taking away her offspring. Some things on this earth are better off left in God's hands. Some moments in this life only make sense when we have nothing left to say but to call on our heavenly Father to help us make it just one more day.