and then you die. This saying could never be truer than it is for my dear friend who recently took his own life. He experienced many challenges throughout his life and he obviously decided he had had enough. I grew up with this guy. We had the same dreams and aspirations. We spent hours and hours working on a game we both loved…basketball. We were a part of our school’s first ever district championship. The media called us the dynamic duo. We had lots and lots of fun together. We were comfortable living on the edge. We were just as comfortable helping someone in need. His mom “made” him go to church, so did mine. The only real difference between me and my buddy was he came from a family with a history of alcoholism. Although my family certainly enjoyed alcohol it was nothing like my buddy’s. I’ve said it before and I will say it again…NOTHING GOOD IN THIS WORLD HAS EVER HAPPENED BECAUSE OF ALCOHOL!!! It is a no-win proposition. Although my buddy had quit drinking years ago, the baggage he carried due to the alcoholic conditions he grew up in were something he could never totally shake.
About 4 years ago I had the opportunity to witness to him and he absorbed what I was saying. He came to church and attended our recovery service a few times. During that service we have a personal testimony and he would often comment to me “Meyer, you know I’ve got a story and some day I want to share it with the church.” I would always say, “whenever you are ready to share, we will be ready to receive it.” He shared with me that he had started praying and that he would get a peace about him when he prayed. I was so excited for him. I knew in my heart he had gotten it together spiritually.
Then he came up missing. The last time I spoke to him was at church about a year ago. He and his wife helped our cell group serve at our church’s weekly service that is provided for the less fortunate. He was serving food and interacting with people and really seemed to enjoy it. He loved to help people. Then I got the call a couple of days ago…he had taken his life. The demons that had been chasing him for years, finally caught up with him.
I am sad that I couldn’t get my buddy to totally surrender and live in the light continuously. He had gotten a glimpse of the light, enjoyed the light and I believe he gave his life to the light but the battle, to him, seemed too hard. From my interaction with him I could tell he thought he needed to get better before God would totally accept him. There is one thing I am holding on to and that is the fact we spent so much time together growing up, that my buddy is a part of me and although he is physically gone, part of his spirit is in me and I will make sure his death was not in vain. His story will be a part of my story forever.
I love you Joey.
P.S. Don’t ever think you are not “worthy enough” for God’s love. Don’t ever think you need to get your “act cleaned up” to be taken into God’s arms. He wants us just as we are. He will turn our weaknesses into strengths. So many people think they need to be “doing right or be strong” before they say “yes” to Jesus, where in fact we just need to say yes to Jesus and slowly, but surely, “doing right and gaining strength” becomes a by-product of saying yes a day at a time. He will take us just the way we are.
Paul writes about this in 2 Corinthians 12:9-10 “But he said to me, My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”