Our community is suffering a tremendous sadness today due to the untimely death of a young student via suicide. There are no words to express the deep grief, sadness, and pain that his family is feeling at his loss, and the deep sorrow that sweeps over our youth who were his friends and peers. The tears flow freely and the hearts seem to hang so low that speaking just seems irreverent at times. Questions rise to the surface about the “why’s” of this tragedy, and they linger like eternal echoes in the souls of all of us. There are just no answers that can satisfy. But there is one question that finds its way to the forefront of conversations among many, and that is the question: “How could God let this happen?” That is the question I would like to follow-up on here in this blog.
Love that is forced is not love. What makes love beautiful and powerful has to do with choice. We want to be chosen, we want to choose. When we are moved by our free will to choose to love someone, we have the ability to express it to the deepest levels of our heart, and even beyond if we are conduits of the love God has for us which transcends our thoughts and feelings. We feel the power of love when it chooses us, pursues us, and keeps us.
Choice. Choice is a gift. Choice is a gift given to humanity by a God who loves us. With our choices we can build cities, paint pictures, love people, explore the world, settle down in our hometowns, raise families, foster children, work in hospitals, care for the orphans, feed the hungry, provide for the needy, bless our friends, and build our dreams. With our choices we make faithfulness mean something. With our choices we become heroes, friends, soldiers, servants, and leaders. With our choices we live life to the fullest and enrich the lives of those around us. Without the power of choice, we are puppets who have no will, no desires, no outs, and no hope.
As long as we have the power of choice, we have the power to bless one another. We have the power to “speak life” into the sorrowing soul of another. With our choices we can be a conduit of healing, of hope, of love and forgiveness. This is what God intended when He gave us choices. “Choose life” God says.
19 This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses 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.
I don’t know why this beautiful young man decided to end his life this past weekend. I can only stand on this side with sadness for him as he made his choices, and sorrow that his choice was not life. I ache for his family, and I sorrow as a mom who cannot imagine a life without my sons. With this sorrow I am made more confident in the love of God that has endowed me and you with choices. He could have made puppets out of all of us. He could force us to love Him, and force us to choose Him, and His desires; but He doesn’t. He lets us choose. He lets us use the depth of our emotions, and the epochs of our strengths. He allows us to feel the depth of loss, and hold our loved ones close. He, Himself, all the while, chooses us in love, comforts us, and holds our hope.
We may never know “why?” And even if we knew the full story, our hearts could not rest in the knowledge of it. Life is just too precious to be lost, and this young man was no exception. My heart and prayers go out to my community tonight and in particular to the family of this beloved son whose life ended all too soon. God be with you.
For more reading on the subject of “free will” I submit an earlier blog: