Is it possible to forgive your child’s murderer? In A Time to Forgive, Darold Bigger explores the closure only God could bring after the slaying of his daughter, Shannon Marie Bigger, a young intern at Washington Adventist Hospital in Silver Spring, Md. Bigger resides in Walla Walla, Washington where he attends Walla Walla University Church.
Interview by Dawna-gene Milton
Visitor: What made you want to share such a personal experience?
We take seriously our Christian calling as God’s witnesses. The many ways in which God helped us cope overwhelmed us and we committed to share this good news about Him anytime we were asked.
Visitor: After your tragic loss did you ever lose your faith?
The book describes our journeys with the human questions about why God allows bad things to happen. Our Christian faith and years of hearing, learning, studying and discussing these human dilemmas prepared us well for this trauma. We are so grateful for the Seventh-day Adventist families, schools and friends who helped us with these questions. Do we have all the answers? No. But we know God well enough to trust Him even in our pain and suffering.
Visitor: When was the point that you turned your anger over to God?
I think that happened early for both Barbara (my wife) and me, though for me it took some time before God translated that negative energy into the peace of forgiveness. I tried to do it on my own, tried to be a forgiving person, but could not make it happen. The process paralleled the spiritual journey of righteousness by faith: admitting my failure and inability, experiencing God’s acceptance in spite of my failures, choosing to believe that He loved me in spite of myself, then seeing progress as I relied on his gift rather than my accomplishments.
Visitor: In your opinion, how important is forgiveness?
Numerous studies verify. Even non-religious research verify the physical, emotional and relational value of forgiving. Add to that the eternal results of God’s gift of forgiveness and the opportunity to share God’s gift with others and forgiveness is priceless.
Visitor: What would you like readers of A Time to Forgive to take away knowing about Shannon (your daughter)?
She was a believer, she was not perfect, she trusted God in challenging times, and she would wish us all to stay in touch with Him.
To get your copy of A Time to Forgive go to Adventistbookcenter.com, Amazon.com, or the Potomac Conference’s LivingWell ABC in Silver Spring, Md.