Our friend in sorrow

Several weeks ago I read about the tragic life of a suicide victim.  The dead man  had been a graphic artist, musician and linguist.  He was 57 years old at the time of his death.  As a young man when he left university he went to Puerto Rico to seek his fortune.  As time went by he grew very wealthy and developed a printing business.  One success lead to another and at the height of his prosperity he fell in love.  He eventually got married and enjoyed an idyllic life-until tragedy struck.  After only eight years his dear wife suddenly died.  With her death his power to work, his ability to plan and his energy and zest for life completely ceased.  He lost all interest in work and his business failed after two years.  Finally he moved to New York where friends advised him to teach languages.  He was a gifted linguist, able to speak German, English, French, Spanish and Italian fluently. He tried it for a while but he had no heart in it.  He felt life wasn’t worth living and he fell into a state of despair.  His body was eventually found in the North River with his coat pockets full of stones.

What is so tragic is that if this man had developed a genuine Christian faith, he would have been able to deal with his sorrow in a very different manner and lived.  His sadness at losing his wife would have been tempered by the promise of a “joyful reunion” in Heaven and his aching heart would have been comforted and uplifted by God Himself who is described in Psalm 147 v 3 as being the Healer of the broken hearted and the Sustainer of those who are going through trouble. (2nd Corinthians ch1 vs3-4).

The bottom line is that if this man had developed a strong Christian faith it really would have made a  tangible  difference.  Taking God seriously, taking Church seriously and taking the Bible and its promises seriously would have meant he could have coped with all the sorrow he faced.  Instead, however he rejected such things, refused to make time for them in his busy life and is one of those pitiful individuals described in Psalm 52 v7 “as one who did not make God his strength”.  If all our hope is founded in things that we can lose and if all our life is founded upon the things of this world, then when they are lost, we are lost.  If  however our heart if firmly set upon God, loving Him and serving, then He is our eternal refuge and strength, a very present help in time of trouble (Psalm 46).  He is someone we can never lose and someone who will never let us down.

Many many years ago there were two friends who blatantly proclaimed that they were atheists.  They refused to have anything to do with the Church and if their local Vicar ever called, they would refuse to speak to him.  Finally one of the friends became seriously ill.  As he lay dying the other friend came to visit him to check that he hadn’t renounced his unbelief.  “Stick to it Bill, stick to it.”  The stricken man turned to his friend and then said something that speaks volumes, “Oh, Jack” he replied, “There is nothing to stick to!”

This generation of all generations is perhaps the most faithless that has ever lived.  Many people have firmly set their hearts on the things of this world.  What will such people do when they lose these things?  How will they cope?  How will they manage?  What does it take to remind people that without God as our Hope “there really is nothing to stick to!”