A story of finding hope in Jesus in the midst of terrible loss.
On January 21st, 2010, I entered the darkest chapter in my life. My 23 year old son Blake, committed suicide. It was a very cool evening when the numbness set in and would be an oppressive presence in my life for the next several years. But here's the rest of the story...
Blake was an Iraq war veteran. While serving as an Army infantryman and finally being assigned to a Recon Sniper unit out of Seattle, Washington, he fought and won many skirmishes in Iraq. However, he lost the final battle 10 months after discharging from the Army as he was diagnosed with a moderate to severe case of PTSD.
My son and I were best friends and we were very close. I had no idea how I would be able to continue to live life without my son. I yelled and screamed at God on multiple occasions not asking for, but demanding He give me answers. I kept thinking, "Why would God let such a terrible thing happen to this All American boy?!?!" And, God was silent...
After Blake's death, I really came eye to eye with God. Through counseling and close friendships and the incredible patience of my wife Marlow, I realized I may be asking the wrong question. At that point, I began to ask "What purpose does Blake's death serve?" "How am I suppose to represent and reflect God's love for me in the wake of such a terrible event?" I remember there was a time I screamed so much at God, I was hoarse for 2 days.
I think for the first time, God knew my heart. There was nothing I could yell or scream or say or curse at him that caused him to leave. He was there every morning when I woke up. He was there every night when I went to bed. God's providence, His plan, His purpose for each of our lives is so much greater than just serving us. I will never understand why that night happened along as I live on this earth and I will never understand God's glorious providence during my lifetime. But, I have come to realize that God has been holding me in his comforting hands these past 5 years. And, I am excited to meet my maker and my savior someday and coming to a full understanding how He used Blake's death to serve and save many others and to the glory of Him. And, I cannot wait to see and hold my son once again as well.
Let God know your heart. Tell Him what your hurts are. That's what God wants. He wants us to be raw. He wants us to be real. He wants to get face to face with Him.
CHRIS SHEPHERD, PETRO STUDIOS