On the tragic night of my sixteen-year-old son’s suicide death our home spun in confusion and chaos. Helplessly I watched my husband’s raw sorrow and the open grief of my children as the evening sky darkened and brought a chill to our home.
Still — I vividly remember –, amid the anguish on that first night without my child, one clear and single thought that predominantly stayed with me:
God is grieving with me.
In my mind, I could imagine the kind face of God my Father softened in sorrow to see His child in such pain. I envisioned tears silently running down His cheecks as His tender eyes looked upon me with compassion and love. Having fully known these events would unfold on this specific day, He was sadly watching their effect on each member of our family. Now sympathetic and respectful, I imagined Him as heartbroken as I over the death of my child.
In the days and months that followed my son’s death, that single persistent thought of God’s grief stayed with me during each confusing day and throughout the many sleepless nights. Comforted by the idea that God was as sad as I, the companionship of His sorrow brought peace and relief. Not caring if my theology was correct or not, something deeply instinctive inside of me sensed that if I didn’t align myself with God in this way, than I might resort to the alternative of assuming He was at fault — and I knew choosing that belief would surely destroy me with bitterness.
As the months turned to years, I held onto this thought as I was challenged to fully understand God’s role in my son’s sudden death.
Did God cause this suicide death for His divine purpose? Or try to stop it from happening? Would God ask a child to commit self-murder? Was this His “plan” for my child’s life? Did God allow Satan to test our family with this trial? Or was my son simply the one who chose this death with his own free-will?
Over time, most of my theological questions found little, if any, answers and after much exhaustion, I gave up trying to pinpoint what God’s role was on the day of my son’s death. I have chosen instead to believe that because His attributes are faithful and steadfast, He is called the “I am” and not the “I did” or “I didn’t”.
Theologically correct or not — whether God causes tragedies, allows tragedies, or silently watches humans make their own choices — I still hold to the idea that God grieves to see His children in pain and walks with each of us in faithfulness and love.
I can follow a God like that. And as I seek to know God more and better understand the workings of His hand, the thought of His sadness over my son’s death brings me continual comfort.