“I hate my life. I wish I was dead. My life is a big fat lie! I feel so lost and empty– a fake. No one cares and I am tired of pretending that I am someone I am not. I am suffocating.” These are the honest thoughts I had many years ago. But I found something that transformed my life. Let me tell you about it.
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My parents were from a small minority of people who converted from Islam in the Middle East. My mother was a homemaker and my father was an entrepreneur who worked as a contractor for a construction company in Jordan and in the US opened grocery stores and restaurants. He started cleaning toilets when he first came to the USA. Both my parents were the hardest working people I know. However, in-spite of having what I needed physically at home, I suffered inside.
I had become what psychologist call an introverted child. Compared to the average teenager. I had apparently thought “too much”. After the death of my grandfather Moses (at 107), it dawned on me that I will one day die too. My childhood dreams stopped. It was at that moment at his funeral that I had a strange experience that changed me.At that moment my childhood stopped, ended and my adulthood began.
I saw graveyards as truly unnatural, no matter what my elders said. “Are we all meant for this?,” was the echo that enshrined my heart as I looked dreadfully upon the grave stones.
I became obsessed with the prospect of my own death. My parents were nominal Christians, so when I became of age to ask the personal and philosophical questions they were not equipped to address them–and I found out later neither where the priests in my community.
I hated life because of the lingering shadow of death that would be the inevitable victor.
I wished that the whole world would just disappear. I wanted to die
Pensées the French mathematician and physicist Blaise Pascal (1623-62) wote :
I see the terrifying immensity of the universe which surrounds me, and find myself limited to one corner of this vast expanse, without knowing why I am set down here rather than elsewhere, nor why the brief period appointed for my life is assigned to me at this moment rather than another in all the eternity that has gone before and will come after me. … All I know is that I must soon die, but what I understand least of all is this very death which I cannot escape. As I know not whence I come, so I know not whither I go. I only know that on leaving this world I fall for ever into nothingness or into the hands of a wrathful God, without knowing to which of these two states I shall be everlastingly consigned. Such is my condition, full of weakness and uncertainty. From all this I conclude that I ought to spend every day of my life without seeking to know my fate. I might perhaps be able to find a solution to my doubts; but I cannot be bothered to do so, I will not take one step towards its discovery.
My story was similar to this from Pascal…but I could not bebothered to NOT ask and It was a dark rainy night as silhouettes of rain drops covered my head as I stared out at the dark empty sky, which was nothing next to the emptiness inside my own soul. Was there a god? My studies in philosophy and science just drove me deeper into despair. Now I could not recite a biblical verse if you paid me that day. The glint of stainless steel fit in my 15 year old hand quite well.
It was a survival knife, and now I wanted to use it for something opposite its name, I wanted to die.
In desperation, I cried out to Him, the one I dreaded the most, and was most afraid did exist…God. The radio in my room began to echo voices of a preacher. I was annoyed, but listened anyway, the man spoke about God’s Son, a cross, and my opportunity to become really alive. He reminded me if I did take my life, my so called pain would not end there! I would die with my sins on my soul.
The words of the Scriptures pierced into my darkened heart:
“It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God.” Hebrews 10:31
SIDE NOTE: When people kill themselves, they are being very selfish or self-consumed, because they are passing on their pain to those they leave behind. One of my colleague’s daughter jumped to her death from a 22 story building. Her mother found her body and will never forget that sight as long as she lives!
Slowly tears overflowed my eyes and somehow I knew that the man on the radio was telling the truth and suicide would bring me into the hands of the Living God with nothing but this sin on my soul. The knife hit the floor and my knees followed. I experienced what some scholars call a theophany and accepted Him whom I did not deserve. I admitted that I was a sinner on his way to hell that needed a Savior. I don’t know how to explain this, but out of my tears came the most peaceful feeling I have ever felt. I knew then and there that God had forgiven me and promised me Real life, Eternal life. Much later I was baptized again (the first time was when I was an infant in Jordan, but this time was at my choice). What once was a darkness at the end of my tunnel of life was now a person surrounded by peace who said “I will never leave you nor forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5).
I had found meaning in my life in the person of God the Son Christ; the same God who died on a cross over 2000 years earlier.
And because of that, because of Him giving me purpose and hope, I was able to be who I am today. If He can do that through a broken boy like me, he could do it for you too!!
As I moved into my high school and college years philosophy became more and more attractive to me.
I was introduced to Plato, Aquinas, Augustine, Descartes, Alvin Plantinga and other philosophers that I found fascinating.
I found I could actually major in it and find a career getting paid to doing philosophy!
Thus I completed my BA in philosophy at Eastern Illinois University. While there I developed friendships with atheists and skeptics in my philosophy department where, unknown to them, they were instrumental in helping me think deeper and grow in my faith! That is where I discovered apologetics with CS Lewis, GK Chesterton and Peter Kreeft and more recently Ravi Zacharias.
I then went on to Trinity International University where I completed my MA in Christian Thought with an emphasis in Philosophy of Religion.
A few years later, with the support of my fiancee –now wife –Luciana, I was able to complete my PhD in Philosophy of the Mind at Hull University in the UK.
Luciana was the major influential in my life, used in amazing ways by God to not only help me get my life back on track but to be a better Christian and man overall. Her sweetness and love encouraged me to get my MA and PhD and other more valuable things too, I am ever greatful to the Lord for her in my life.
If this was all possible for a suicidal introvered child like me, then it is possible for anyone!
I leave you with these three tips to help you transition to hope! :
- Keep asking uncomfortable questions. Consult logic, your feelings, and your imagination. Don’t let people shut you up. But be wise as a snake and gentle as a dove when you do it!
- Seek a relationship with God. “Talk to god in prayer” Because He is already seeking you.
Jeremahi 29:13 God says to us: “You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.”
In Romans 6:23 God says to us: “For the wages of Sin is death but the free gift of God is eternal life though Christ Jesus our Lord. AND “For by grace you have been saved, through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God, not a result of works, that no one should boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9)3.
3. Finally, seek spiritual guidance from godly people.” The best place is in your local church–but good books will help. Starting with Mere Christianity by CS Lewis. Want to talk to someone right away? Call toll-free 888-NEED HIM (888) 633-3446..
My hope is to use the talents, experiences and trials I have gone through to help Believers become better Thinkers and to help Thinkers become better Believers.
Your feedback is welcome & appreciated!
Start Seeking God Because He is Already Seeking You.