How could God let Christians hurt to the point of suicide?
An old Tank friend
came through and poured his heart out:
Why would God let
Christians get to the point where they commit suicide? Why doesn't He
provide any peace, comfort, strength, etc for these people? As someone
who has recently (as in the past few days) come to understand to a good
degree through personal experience how people can see that suicide is
the only solution, I'm utterly baffled by this. And scared.
I wrote a rather personal, non-theodicy (smile) email back...
for the Suicide question below, we (or at least, "I") don’t know such
things, ABC. The word "allow" in such questions is just too
He wrote back--and apparently I had not
confused him any further...
We don’t know why God would 'allow'
His beloved David to commit adultery with Bathsheba in front of his
servants/nation and then murder her husband Uriah, the ridicule of
which for God has reverberated down through the centuries ("a man after
God's own heart, eh?--tells us something about your Christian god,
doesn’t it?!!") ?
Why does God allow Christians to be
raped (without 'comfort' during the horrible experience)? Or have
ulcers due to stress? Or to catch diseases from sin?
Why does God allow beautiful hearted
Christians to go senile due to genetics?
Why does God allow preachers to
molest the children in their churches?
Why did God allow my daughter to die,
scarring/darkening every family Christmas for the rest of my life?
Why doesn't God heal my crippling
fear of people, so I could be at peace around people, instead of always
hypervigilant, waiting for the next blow?
Why did God let one of my closest
family members actually attempt suicide (and nearly succeed), due to
his childhood relationship with a loved one?
Why did God let me wrestle with a
desire for suicide DAILY for the vast majority of my life? (I visited a
therapist in 1980 who told me I had the highest propensity for suicide
he had seen in 15 years of counseling). It was years before I got the
desires down to 'once a quarter'--but I would never have DONE IT,
because it would hurt my loved ones, LIKE I HAD FELT HURT all my life--
Why, why, why?
God doesn’t often tell us. I can come
up with POSSIBLE/MULTIPLE REASONS for many of the above, but my answers
are worthless/speculative in any SPECIFIC case.
This is yet another case of "Why does
God 'allow' evil and innocent suffering?" There are many, many POSSIBLE
reasons which could apply (and you have probably seen all of those
scattered over the Tank), but how they apply in any given case, we have
no clue--only limited view guesses.
So, I don’t have any REAL answer for
you, friend (just like Job had no visibility into the reasons for his
TOTALLY comfortless misery)... All I can do is point out that:
1. EVERY CASE is so incredibly
complicated, with influences, background, mitigating factors, goodness,
results of choice, sin, psycho-pathologies, spiritual warfare, social
forces, that I don’t often try to even FRAME THE QUESTION of
'allow'--it might not make much sense in such a complicated case. How
many of the factors/influences does God 'encourage', how many does He
'permit to run their course', how many NEW factors/influences does He
interject to try to 'head off'/intercept the destructive forces?
2. God never guarantees us that our
lives will be only 'mildly painful' or 'mildly distressing'. How we
deal with our problems are a MIX of His interventions, answers to our
prayers, and our own choices/will/openness to correction/honesty etc...
How many Christians have killed themselves AFTER HAVING RECEIVED GOD's
comfort? I bet PLENTY HAVE. He probably OFFERED peace, succor, etc to
(many of) these people... But they chose otherwise...I have gotten
myself into messes in my life decades ago, where the option of facing
up to my mistakes, making hard and unpopular choices, losing major
'face', and severing ties with friends was MORE SCARY than even
suicide... God is not responsible to 'convince me otherwise'--this is
MY mess, and He WOULD empower me THRU these hard roads--but ONLY IF I
CHOSE THEM. He wont force me to choose the hard-but-true road (where He
WILL comfort me), instead of the easy-but-false road of
avoidance-through-suicide. "Free will" --both leading UP to the crisis
and DURING the crisis--is clearly involved.
3. One other factor I realized as I
pondered your question over the last couple of days. One MAJOR
principle is that God doesn't normally 'interrupt' processes already in
motion--He lets them finish their course ("a bruised reed he will not
break. A smoldering wick he will not quench"). Bad choices will yield
bad consequences--that process will continue without his intervention.
However, He CAN/DOES start 'new' processes (repentance, therapy,
community response) which THEMSELVES can intercept that other
trajectory. Counseling is one such trajectory for those under suicidal
thoughts--but if someone wont START such a trajectory (due to pride,
lack of access, lack of familiarity with it, etc), then God has fewer
options (e.g., conscience, a friend, government, etc). E.g., Diseases
require EXTRA effort on the part of the patient, doctor, family--to
intercept the trajectory/process of the malignancy. I would assume that
some suicides (and murders and business failures and missed
opportunities etc) might be due to His commitment to letting 'natural
processes run their course'. He would be eager to intervene "INSIDE"
ANOTHER PROCESS, but that process normally has to be started DOWN HERE
and by ONE OF US (under His guidance and/or prompting, often).
Friend, these are theoretical
considerations--I am not a therapist or counselor or pastor--I am just
a researcher. Maybe your question would be best asked of a Christian
counselor, who deals with these types of questions frequently (I
suspect). I am sorry you had to PERSONALLY see the horror of 'feeling
trapped and hopeless', for it is something that has been a frequent
'companion' to me over the years (even as a Christian). And your being
'scared' is probably a reasonable response--but also one that should
urge you to be an 'intervener' YOURSELF, to attempt to Create
'intercepting' trajectories in the lives of others who see this Dark Seductress up close...
Again, I am VERY SORRY to be unable
to help you with this question, dear friend--and again, I appreciate
your encouragement to me over the years... I will pray that God will
lead you gently to an answer to this troublesome question for you.
In His love,
very much for your response. Although you weren't able to answer my
question about suicide, your feedback helped a lot. Just pointing out
so many factors that I didn't even consider/realize was satisfying. I
was approaching this issue as too black and white; or even too few
shades of gray. Your response pointed out that it's too complicated --
there are too many factors, too many things we don't understand, etc. I
thought the issue was far too simple; but realizing that it's too
complex to answer, let alone ask, makes it much easier to just put in
God's hands and trust in Him.
The Christian ThinkTank...[http://www.Christianthinktank.com]