Suicide Didn’t Win and Satan Is Still A Loser
By Michael Howell, Contributing Writer
***If you or someone you know is struggling with suicidal thoughts, please reach out to the National Suicide Hotline: 1-800-273-8255***
At 4 a.m. on Sept. 28, 2016, my son, Connor Howell, put a gun to his left temple and pulled the trigger.
I woke up thinking he was drunk and had knocked something over. Then, I smelled gunpowder and saw him lying on the floor of his room.
I rushed to him and starting praying. I remember telling him if he could hear me that I didn’t know if he would live or die, but if he did die, not to look left or right only rush to Jesus.
My son was a Christian. So was Jarrid Wilson, who took his own life only days ago. My son had problems with substance abuse and depression, and he couldn’t sleep. These symptoms were something Wilson, a pastor, understood all too well in his efforts to help others.
Wilson’s wife described him as, “Loving, giving, kind-hearted, encouraging, handsome, and hilarious.”
These attributes and more describe our son Connor. When I talk to others that have suffered this type of loss, they say the same about their loved ones.
Often, I find it is the bright and compassionate people that we lose. Because of their intellect, they tend to underestimate what they become involved in, like drugs or other substance abuse, thinking they can quit at any time. On the compassionate side, they often struggle with the hurt in the world and why God would allow it.
Wilson said the following:
Loving Jesus doesn’t always cure suicidal thoughts
Loving Jesus doesn’t always cure depression
Loving Jesus doesn’t always cure PTSD
Loving Jesus doesn’t always cure anxiety
But, that doesn’t mean Jesus doesn’t offer us companionship and comfort
He always does that
What are we to do if we can’t trust Jesus to fix us when we are in this type of condition? Is it enough to know He is with us, but He is silent in our pain? If He healed by faith in the Bible when they asked by faith, why doesn’t He heal us too?
There are those among us who, when they see these questions, would say God does not exist, and if He did exist, what kind of monster must He be to let His beloved creation suffer and die in such a cruel way?
I don’t have all the answers, but I will share what I believe and what I have observed up until this point:
First, we live in a fallen world.
The idea that when we become Christians we are suddenly protected from harm and will live care-free lives is in direct opposition to what we see in the Bible and certainly the 12 disciples, the majority of which died by assorted and violent means.
In fact, often the opposite is true. If life was a cake walk after we are saved, why would we need the Holy Spirit?
Christianity is a contact sport and to be victorious in this life we need spiritual power from above.
Second, all things work to the good for those who love God.
While suicide is horrific on its face, God would not be God if He couldn’t use it for good.
The verse ultimately means as Christians we cannot lose. So many people were praying for our son.
What if Connor dying would lead to others coming to Christ who never would any other way? I know of at least two examples of this. Was it better for Connor to live, and those souls never to know Christ and go to hell?
What people forget is that when we give our lives to Christ, we trust him to use it in a way that will lead others to him, and sometimes that means unto death. We can either be used by Him or for Him, and often our actions are responsible for which of those he uses.
I know that is a tough pill to swallow, but keep in mind the game we are playing is for eternity. In such a game, one would expect such extremes especially from love. Wouldn’t you do anything to save your family?
I often wonder what if something worse was on the way not only for Connor, but for our family based on his actions leading up to his death? What if under the influence he hit someone in his car and killed them? What if him dying was the healing we were praying for? Death is the ultimate healing. What some people call a severe mercy. Do we just trust God while we are living? There are after all things worse than death.
Finally, I take comfort in that God went through everything we went through and more when His son died on the cross. If anyone knows about losing a child, it is God. Only His son was crucified and hated and took on the sins of the world. Past, present and future, including my son taking his own life.
The good news? His son rose and now lives with his Father in Heaven. This is a promise he made my son when he accepted him at age eleven and was baptized. I will see my son again just like God did. I take such great comfort in that reality.
We miss him every second of every day. That is the nature of love.
I still remember his bear-like hugs, his smile, the way he smelled, how he used to call me “Old Man,” and how he used to tell me to get a real car instead of my old Jeep.
One time, he brought 300 chicken wings home for me. I asked him Connor this must have cost a fortune! He assured me it was alright. Someone had dropped them on the floor at the restaurant where he worked.
He smiled and said, “Don’t worry old man, I only gave you the ones that were on top that never touched the floor.”
I’m not going to lie. It hurts. It hurts bad. I wish I could have protected him more from the sinful temptations of this world that took him from me, but compared to spending eternity with my son one day I can stand it, but only through my faith in Christ.
Suicide didn’t win, and Satan is still a loser.