As Melanie hesitated to Post this, I hesitated to Share it.
But just in the spirit, please, of helping us ALL to be better at the love and empathy the Lord CALLS us to in the body of Christ (John 13:34-35; Romans 12:9, 10, 13; I Corinthians 12:25-26; Ephesians 4:29; Philippians 2:1-4), I share this with the earnest plea that we ALL take that extra measure of care in how we use our tongues, ESPECIALLY when speaking to the deeply grieving.
May our compassionate Lord help us to realize it is so very, very easy to add to the hurt of those already nursing an open wound. All nerves are so raw and exposed, and stand at hyper-alert and full flame; at the mere brush of a feather, they may scream for mercy.
More than one well-meaning friend has said to us, when we've been particularly transparent about our pain, "but surely you want what's best for your child" (implying it is selfish of us to want him back in this scene of sorrow and woe, when what's best for Levi is to be with his Lord in Heaven, immune from all suffering).
YES, of course!!!
With all our hearts, we do SO want what's best for our son! I'm sure you don't realize how much it hurts that someone should even suggest otherwise (and please stop calling me "Shirley" 😉)!
But we are woefully human. Maybe if it were you in this situation, you would not struggle as we do.
Thank God, in all likelihood we'll never find out. MOST parents, mercifully, will never know what it's like to have to bury their child.
But we do struggle with whether it truly is "better" for a young man with such EXTRAORDINARY potential to have wrested from his Father's hands the right to determine the end of his days at the ripe old age of 19.
Can we say it's "better" that he chose not to "finish his course" and "run the race with patience to the end?"
Is it truly "better" that all the people this avid young witness might have blessed, encouraged, and reached with the gospel now may never be?
Is it "better" that, in cutting short his own life, the eternal rewards Jesus personally yearned to bestow on him may now not be received (Matthew 25:21, 23)?
Though it MAY be better for Levi, I just can't see how it is "what's best" for his sister, whose health crashed hard, we believe as the direct result of the trauma of her little brother's death, beginning with the horrific phone call she had to receive that morning so far away from us all in Tel Aviv, Israel.
Or his other siblings (Abel had to hear by phone, too, alone in Norway), or us, or his many friends, who have sobbed to the point of physical pain many times over since June 2016, and will now limp along with a certain sadness for the rest of our lives . . .
I have absolutely NO condemnation in my heart for my son. Not a speck.
I will vigorously defend him to anyone who does.
(And no animosity for those friends who have said such things. I'm sure they have only good intentions).
But I appreciate your prayers.
Because, while I assure you I take by faith that God "works all things together for good," it's difficult for me to see all this as "what's best."