I sat that fateful afternoon at my desk, looking up at my two managers with eyes of unbelief. I listened and my mind became like a slipping clutch. I couldn’t grasp what they were saying. I sat silent for a moment trying to take it in. The only thing that I could think to reply was, “If that ever were the case, I would take my life!” I would commit suicide! My life would be over. I could never have imagined, in a million years, that my clients would be at risk of losing their investment funds.
As a Christian man, to say such a word as suicide was troubling, but nevertheless I said it and sincerely believed it! But how would I take my life? I remembered reading of someone leaving their vehicle running in the garage and they died. But my garage was a full office. I could jump from a high bridge; no, maybe pills, but I don’t have any. Oh yeah, I have a .22 gun in my shed. Ok that’s what I will do! I’ll go in my shed and shoot myself in the heart and …the tortured thoughts tumbled around and around in my head.
I was still sitting at my desk, now alone in my office. I shook off my thoughts of suicide and, with tears, I cried from the depths of my heart, “Oh Lord, help me!” The panic subsided a bit. It needed to subside. I had to speak that evening at church on finances from “God’s perspective”. I tried pulling myself together. I began seeing Psalm 23 in my mind. “Yea though I walk through the valley of shadow of the death, I will fear no evil…”. Then the word ‘shadow’ came into my mind. Shadows are much bigger than the actual thing being shadowed. I thought through what I had just heard. My mind couldn’t believe that my wonderful clients could lose their money! I was terrified, but grabbed hold of those words from Psalm 23 and sensed I heard God say, “Jack, let’s just get through today!”
I spoke that evening with much passion, but under the surface I knew that suicide thoughts were going to hassle me. I felt like all of hell was laughing at me: “You, a financial planner with your C.F.P., and your clients are going to lose their retirement funds?” This was the beginning of Jack’s dying.
Driving home that evening I recalled a hymn by Fanny Crosby. It was like God was throwing me a life preserver. ‘Safe in the arms of Jesus. Safe on His gentle breast. There by His love o’er shaded, sweetly my soul shall rest.’
But this was only the beginning of the deepest darkest valley for me and my clients.