Unimaginable Faith in God

Published 11:29 am Sunday, March 12, 2017


How much pain and suffering are you personally able to experience in life? Is your faith like Job? Could you bear the cross that Job was required to as a test of his faith? If Satan said, he could take your pain and suffering away if you renounced Jesus-would you?





Several years ago, I met a woman who had just lost her husband of more than 25 years to cancer. He had been a very successful barber who left her well off financially. She had three daughters whom I will call Laura, Susan and Rachel, and one son, whom I will call Eric.


I will call her Joan.


Joan was proud of her children. Rachel, the youngest, had recently finished college and the other two daughters, Laura and Susan were married to successful young businessmen. One was a chiropractor, and the other son-in-law was in real estate investment. The two sons-in-law were good friends and regularly argued about who would first become wealthy.


Her son was in his first year of college at the city’s major university. A very quiet young, man, he seemed detached from the family.


One day she called me frantically, leading up to the Christmas holidays. She said she needed my help and wanted me to immediately come to her home. When I arrived, she informed me that Eric had been behaving strangely and that she had seen him smoking something that she believed was crack cocaine.


She was petrified – her only son, a crack addict?


As I talked to him I knew that something was dreadfully wrong. Even though he had always been silent and withdrawn, it was obvious that he was under the influence of some drug. It is difficult to explain, but I can tell a covert crack addict without any difficulty.


As is the case with most addicts, Eric refused to admit that he had a problem. I later said to Joan that I am not a physician, but I agreed with her that he was under the influence of some kind of drug and that if he did not get assistance soon, things would get worse before they got better.








My words became prophecy.


Less than two weeks later, I was celebrating the coming of the new year in Georgia with a party in my home. As the countdown began for the Peach to be dropped to bring in the New Year, I received a called from Eric’s mother. The call was not to wish me a Happy New Year.


She was crying hysterically into the phone. Eric had just been found dead in their guest house. He had taken a rope, after looping it around something on the ceiling, and placed it around his neck. He also took a belt, and secured his arms behind him, and dropped from a stool, immediately killing himself. A young life, wasted by a battle with addiction, which his inner demons won.


Leading up to his funeral, I asked her how she was doing – she was quick to respond by saying she did not question what happened to her son.


I often checked in on her to ensure that she was okay. On one such occasion, just two years later, I called and she informed me that her two daughters were in town with their husbands. They were in town for the funeral of John, the chiropractor’s father.

That evening, she called me with a sadness in her voice that I remember to this day. Between her crying over the phone, I could understand that after the funeral, her daughters and sons-in law had left her home in a limo to change clothes and were to return later.

The craziest thing happened in the limo. The two sons-in-law got into a heated argument about the interpretation of some passage in the Bible. Before they got to their destination, the wives restored the peace between them. They both apologized, no one realizing that this was just the calm before the storm that would nearly destroy their families.

On their return to my friend’s home, they again, got into another heated argument. This time her daughters, Susan and Laura, were unsuccessful in restoring calm between their husbands. When they exited the limo, without warning, John who had just earlier buried his father, shot his lifelong friend, blasting him literally into his wife’s arms. Both wives shouted “John! What are you doing?” Before they could comprehend what had taken place, John turned the gun on himself, dying almost instantly from his self-inflicted wound. Two young men, talented and destined to make their mark in the world, dead, and the real reasons for their deaths, buried with them. The wives have remained quiet until this day.

In my conversations with my friend about the tragedy, she appeared strengthened in her faith. She never questioned God or felt cursed that tragedy again, had knocked on her door.


There are but a few of us who have the faith and fortitude of Job depicted in the bible as a person inflicted with pain and suffering unimaginable to test his faith in God.  My friend, however, is one of them. Joan feared and respected God. She truly believed that no matter how awful the crisis a person is experiencing they should never give up trusting in God. She was the personification of her faith in crisis situations-never wavering, always believing that tomorrow would be a better day.


Dr. Glenn Dowell is an author and columnist who currently lives in Jonesboro. He has been a guest speaker on major college campuses, including having appeared on TV programs such as the Oprah Winfrey Show. He may be reached at gdowell@live.com