By Leow Yew Chong
On December 16, 2019, a 26-year-old girl jumped to her death at Klang Parade. Reportedly, she had borrowed from loan sharks. With the help of a social worker and her mother, she managed to repay the debts. Before she took the drastic action of taking her own life, she wrote on her Facebook page describing her despondency with life stating that it was a failure , hurting people who cared and loved her, and her failure as a daughter who had created problems for them to resolve. Reproduced here below is her posting which is a translation from Chinese.
“Friends, family, I’m gone. My life has failed, I have a lot of things wrong, hurt many people who trust me, I don’t know how to face you, so I don’t know how to face you, so I choose to escape all of this. Sorry, I’m weak.
I have never given my parents a good life for 26 years, and I only have to make problems for them to help me solve it. I am really really filial. I really don’t want to look at them so hard to do so much for me.
Thank you to those friends and family who helped me during my difficult times. Thank you all. I just hope that I am an obedient and sensible child in the next life.
Goodbye, family and friends. Meet us. See you again.”
In summary, she felt that her life was a failure, having done many wrong things, hurting many people. This led to shame and embarrassment in facing her friends. She did not know how to face them and therefore chose to avoid it via death. Finally, there is the issue of her responsibility as a daughter, where she felt she was not a filial child. Instead, she was one that was constantly creating problems for her parents to solve.
Friends and brethren, do we not at times feel the same way as her? The feeling that our life is a failure especially when we keep doing the evil that we do not want and unable to do the good that we want to. When we do own up to our deeds, we feel the shame and embarrassment and we cringe when meeting up with the brethren and friends who had helped us. The more they tried to help, the more we cringe away.
Finally, there is this thing about responsibility. It feels like a ton of dead weight on our back and it bogs us down. This responsibility comes in the shape of wanting to be a filial child who is obedient and successful, a spouse who helps in the home and always lending a shoulder to cry on, or just a friend and a colleague who persisted in spite of moments of extreme work challenges.
Let us look into an incident in the life of Jesus during His earthly ministry where such a seemingly hopeless situation prevailed. The people felt that there was no solution to their problem. There was no hope. Nothing could change the dead situation.
In the gospel of John chapter 11, we read the account of the death of Lazarus. Lazarus was sick when the report first reached Jesus. When Jesus reached Bethany, Lazarus was already dead for four days, and bodily decomposition would have taken place. His body would have been wrapped with spices and other embalming funerary ointments. Therefore, Lazarus was as dead as death could be.
Mary was deeply affected by her brother, Lazarus’ death. The scripture hinted that she was weeping inconsolably (John 11:31-33). When she came to Jesus and laid her “complaints” on Him, it affected Jesus. “Jesus wept” (Verse 35) is the shortest verse in our English bible. In two words, it tells us the dept of emotion that Jesus felt when He saw Mary and the other Jews weeping.
If Jesus was a mere man, it was the end of the road for Martha and Mary. Lazarus was forever gone. There was no hope in getting him back. You do not expect a dead man to come alive after four days. It was unheard of and an impossibility. If the two sisters were single, there was no else defend them. Life had appeared to reach a dead end for them.
Under such circumstances, Jesus demonstrated His divinity by raising Lazarus from the dead, not spiritually as Martha had thought, but physically. We learned from this incident that with God, nothing is impossible (Luke 1:37). Dead end begins anew, if only we wait upon God.
Of course, some may say that because such miracles do not occur in this day and age, the situation of Lazarus is totally inapplicable to us. Yet, if we will only recall that Joseph was in a similar situation when his brothers sold him into slavery in a faraway land with a certainty that his brothers would not tolerate his return. Joseph suffered for thirteen years in Egypt, a mighty long time. How long would we last if we were in his shoes? Esther was in a similar situation when Haman plotted against the Jews and she was very fearful for her life. In both instances, God did not intervene via miraculous acts but allowed both Joseph and Esther to demonstrate their faith in Him to save and to see His salvation.
When hope seems dearth and God nowhere to be found, remember God loves us because He gave us life; God forgives us because Jesus paid the price, hence we need to forgive ourselves; God never set us on a dead-end road but we need to look for the way of escape; God never leaves us because He set His Holy Spirit in us when we were baptized; God gives us talents to do great things for Him, we are not useless.
“For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height or depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” Romans 8:38.