Many in the gaming community are stunned, hurt, and confused by the unexpected suicide of WoW star Reckful this week on 02/07/2020. How can a man who seemed to have it all still struggle to be happy? If he couldn’t stand this world, how can I? And perhaps one of the biggest questions: if God is good, how can so much pain exist?
As I write this, I am happily married with a newborn. We just bought a house where we plan to raise our family. We live in America, and I am able to stay home with my son (or go out with friends) while my husband works. There are two main reactions I get from non-Christians who know me. The first, “You’re only a Christian because your parents told you to be. You’re sheltered and don’t know how hard the world is.” The second, “How can you be a Christian after all that you’ve been through?” Obviously, one response is from those who have not breached past a surface relationship with me, and the other from those who have taken the time to pursue deeper than pleasantries.
Though this article is not supposed to be all about me, I think that having context can help assure that the writer is not speaking from an outside perspective, but rather a personal one. So, here is a brief summary of my early life.
By outside appearances, I was indeed raised in a good, Christian home. We went to church rather regularly, though sometimes we were between churches because either my father had angered the leaders and we were asked to leave, the church closed down, or my father decided the church wasn’t well enough aligned to his beliefs. I was frequently told by people I vaguely knew that I was “so blessed to have such wonderful, Godly parents!” Every time I heard that, I would smile, while biting my tongue and feeling a sting– if only you knew.
The house I grew up in was in absolute disrepair. Have you ever seen the home of a hoarder? Mine was a family of nine pack-rats who never cleaned. Humans weren’t the only inhabitants. We shared the house with cats who weren’t litter-trained, fleas, rats, flies, roaches, and palmetto bugs (giant, flying, biting roaches that just won’t die). Every room had mold, holes in the floors, walls, and ceilings, and horribly dim lighting. Though the lights were always on, your eyes had to adjust to the gloom after coming in from the bright sunlight outside.
And what of the family dynamics? An eldest brother who was “curious” about his younger sisters, another with schizophrenia, and every single family member suffering from depression, and most with anxiety as well. Add to that a father with “a quick temper and a heavy hand”, who unfortunately never was employed after I was five years old. Abuse of every kind occurred under that leaky roof, with threats if it were to ever be exposed. When there wasn’t fighting, everyone was lost in his or her own world, either in a book or a video or computer game.
I would imagine at this point you would agree: I have cause to suffer from depression, anxiety, and complex post-traumatic stress disorder (CPTSD). Rest assured, I have and do struggle with them. But I am still able to say that God is good, and I live my life for His glory. HOW?
Beyond Human Comprehension
When Christians talk about God, we are not referencing a created being, but rather the all-powerful Creator. The created cannot be more intelligent than its designer, even on a human scale. God is all-knowing, all-wise, and all-merciful– but He is also all-just. He is multi-faceted, and every side is perfect. As John Piper, a theologian from Desiring God, says,
“The glory of God is not found in dissecting His perfections into separate parts, but seeing them whole and keeping them in connection with one another.” He suggests that, “…When dealing with the various attributes of God, like his freedom and sovereignty and power and goodness and wisdom and grace and patience and justice and wrath and so on– the counsel is: Keep God’s attributes in living, dynamic relation to each other. Let each one have its emotional and intellectual effect on each of the others.”
Another thing we need to consider when we view how God impacts our lives is that He is not just God over our own lives– He is God over all time and space, and everything exists for His glory. We want everything to go according to our plans for our lives, but God is orchestrating good in a different way than may please us. If presented with a choice between the family and house I grew up in or the family and house my husband grew up in, I’d prefer his. They actually seem to like each other.
But if I hadn’t grown up with the experiences I did, I wouldn’t be here writing this article. If my suffering was so that one person can find hope and comfort, then it is good. Pleasant? No, not in the slightest. But another thing to consider is that our earthly lives are short. The average lifespan now is about 75 years, and Christians believe the Earth was created about 6,000 years ago. 75 years is not long given that timeline, and it’s even shorter when you consider eternity. (James 4:14) If 15 years of suffering in my life means that even one person can spend eternal life with Christ, then who am I to complain?
An important side note: everyone will eternally exist. The question is whether they will live in eternal joy and peace with God, or in eternal pain and suffering without Him. There is no inbetween.
2 Corinthians 1:3-4 says:
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.”
When we receive comfort or hope from God, we are called to share it! It is not ours to hoard.
As Christians, we are not our own, for we have been purchased by the blood of Christ (1 Corinthians 6:19-20). When I was around 14, the church I had been going to decided that my family (or mostly my dad) were not welcome anymore. I was devastated– this was the first church I had started getting personally involved in, and it was a haven to me. Without this safe place, life seemed too bleak to me. I knew that Heaven was the ideal place to be, so I decided that suicide was the quickest way to get there. I kept reading my Bible as I planned, and I came across Philippians 1:21, which I had heard before but I grabbed onto. “For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” Dying is gain– that’s Biblical. Win-win.
But then a friend encouraged me to read more:
“If I am to live in the flesh, that means fruitful labor for me. Yet which I shall choose I cannot tell. I am hard pressed between the two. My desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better. But to remain in the flesh is more necessary on your account. Convinced of this, I know that I will remain and continue with you all, for your progress and joy in the faith, so that in me you may have ample cause to glory in Christ Jesus, because of my coming to you again.” (Philippians 1:22-26, emphasis mine.)
Paul the Apostle, the writer of these passages who suffered far more than I, recognized that his life was not his own. He was in service of the Lord Christ Jesus, and he was called to the work of the Gospel. I took that lesson to heart. I have no right to take my own life, because it is not mine. It belongs to God, and I am to use it for Him as long as He sees fit, in any way that He sees fit. My life is not mine to take. Neither is yours.
Without Godly friends encouraging me with the truth of the Bible, I cannot say what would have become of me. It is imperative to be a part of a Christian fellowship. We are commanded in Hebrews 10:24-26:
“And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the day drawing near.”
As I end this article, I would like to encourage you to read all of 2 Corinthians 4 for yourself. I will leave you with the final three verses here: