A Father’s Lessons from a Daughter’s Suicide
By Frank Page
During that horrible late autumn when we lost Melissa, we were in the midst of a move, relocating from South Carolina to Atlanta. It was sure to be an odd adjustment anyway. It was the first time in more than thirty years that I was not officially in my usual role as senior pastor. Everything felt temporary and unsettled, all the way down to our makeshift housing arrangements. Here we were, trying to adjust to new work in a new city, boxes and clothes still tucked away in storage, and yet adjusting simultaneously to a world that had rocked several significant degrees off its axis.
We were in a new place in more ways than one.
And where was God?
Did you ever wonder where God was when you sat up at night asking questions that had no solvable answers? Did you ever doubt His love and goodness? Did you feel abandoned by Him? Deserted? Alone?
I understand if you did. I understand if you still do. Suicide is not a situation that lends itself to casual conversations with God. It hurts. And more than that, it seems as though He could have prevented it all if He’d wanted to. At those times when the loss seems the most impossible to bear, at times when you can’t believe what your child is doing or has done to themselves, it can feel like God is nowhere this side of heaven to offer all that comfort His Word so confidently promises.
But I can tell you by the testimony of Scripture, He is strong enough to weather our hot accusations against Him, patient enough to withstand our desire to seek distance from Him (though such a thing is, of course, theologically impossible), and compassionate enough to feel emotion at the deep, hollow anguish that can often stand between us and our tottering faith.
Yes, we may feel He’s left us all alone.
But I know that He hasn’t.
And so can you.
Frank Page is president and CEO of the Southern Baptist Convention Executive Committee in Nashville, Tenn. This post is an excerpt from his book Melissa: A Father’s Lessons from a Daughter’s Suicide to be released on June 1. Pre-order your copy at LifeWay.com.