In light of another suicide by a young person, (Rick Warren’s youngest son,) I started thinking about pain and Heaven. When I was small the only pain I ever felt was when I broke my foot or if I skinned my knee. I didn’t think much about Heaven other than singing Sunday school songs like, “We are climbing Jacobs Ladder.” Then I imagined how beautiful Heaven must be and how wonderful it would be to see the angels. Also I resolved that I would be a “good solider of the cross” and I would climb Jacobs ladder to Heaven.
But as an adult I developed painful headaches after I started teaching school. I had played school as a child with my obedient sister and we always had a good time. I was always the teacher and she was always the compliant student. (She is the only one in our family to earn a Masters Degree.) But in reality most kids are strong willed and don’t obey. As a real teacher in a real school I felt like I was trying to round up greased pigs. Every day I prayed that God would fill me with love for these children and that they would respond to that love. When they did not obey I prayed that God would close the mouths of the lions and He did! They simmered down and would sometimes do what they were supposed to do. But there were so many variables that very few days went smoothly. After 3 years of full time teaching I quit and went to work at the library, and the headaches went away.
During that time one of the principals at one of the schools where I taught lost a thirteen-year-old son to suicide. I just couldn’t imagine such a thing happening. I thought such a thing must be very rare.
Then, because of emotional pain due to difficult relatives, I began to ask God to take me home like Elijah did. I wanted to sit under a tree like he did and be taken care of instead of living a balancing act trying to love those who were not lovable. I thought about murder but I knew that was wrong. I trusted God that He would deal with those who were oppressing me. He would be my defender. In the long run God would take care of everything. Next I asked God for a vacation—He supplied us with trips to Europe, the Caribbean, Mexico, and the south Pacific. He provided above and beyond anything I could ask for or imagine.
Then the physical pain of fibromyalgia set in. I couldn’t keep up the pace of doing all that I was doing because of the pain. I went through all the stages of grieving. Everyone tried to “fix” me. No one understood and that added to my pain. After 30 years most realize I can’t be fixed.
At that point a fifteen-year-old kid in my son’s junior high committed suicide. I feared for the lives of these young kids. I couldn’t imagine the pain of those parents. How could this boy do that to his parents?! I started praying with a Moms in Prayer group for the school. It was too much to bear alone.
Some friends lost their adult sons to suicide. One friend lost her brother to suicide. A man my husband worked with committed suicide. Then the radicalized Muslims started more and more suicide bombing.
Now every so often I see a TV show, a movie, or read a book where someone commits suicide. Do we have an epidemic on our hands?
But God can and does use pain for good. Before the pain I experience on a daily basis, I thought Heaven was nice, but now, because of the pain, I yearn to be in the house of the Lord.
Psalm 84: 1 How lovely are Your dwelling places, O LORD of hosts! 2 My soul longed and even yearned for the courts of the LORD; My heart and my flesh sing for joy to the living God. 3 The bird also has found a house, And the swallow a nest for herself, where she may lay her young, Even Your altars, O LORD of hosts, My King and my God. 4 How blessed are those who dwell in Your house! They are ever praising You.
I look forward to the time when --Revelation 21: 4 and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away.
Meanwhile, I trust God with my life. I pray for all of those who are in pain because of the loss of a loved one, and for those who are just in pain. I pray that Jesus will come back soon.