Suicide is one of the most difficult issues I deal with. Being a pastor and military chaplain, I see it quite a bit more than most other people probably do. And usually, I’m the one who is called to sit with (if not inform) the family, sort things out with the friends, speak to the unit, and try with all my heart get others who are considering a similar course of action to reconsider. I have to admit – these tasks are not easy. Why? Because when someone makes the decision to take their own life, it’s not just their life they are taking. In a very real sense, they’re taking the lives of those around them that love them so much. A mom. A sister. A friend. A fellow soldier. No one wins when suicide happens.
Here’s the thing that I’ve never been able to understand – and please know that these are just my own reflections on the subject – I’m certainly not trying to be judgmental, but I’ve never been able to understand how a person could feel like life was so bad that they had to end it. I know life gets bad for a lot of people, even most people, at some point in life. A relationship fails, a career tanks, a loved one is lost, personhood is violated, self-esteem and dignity are shattered — and sometimes all these things happen all at once, and they don’t ever show any signs of stopping. In the end, I guess some people just get enough of it and see no reason to think that tomorrow will be any better than today. And I guess that’s a legitimate feeling – depending on what you believe about the world and your place in it. But here’s where God comes in.
I honestly believe (and the Bible actually teaches) that when His kids hurt, God hurts. Our tears are important to Him. When our dreams are lost, He grieves with us, even if we fail to recognize His presence. When we make poor decisions that hurt and embarrass us, He defends us when everyone else wants to stone us. When life becomes lifeless, He’s the one who invites us to trade in the crappy, failed, flawed life we used to have for true and abundant life – the life that can only come through the mystical union He invites us to have with Himself through the infinite but personal power of the Holy Spirit. And when we want to die, He reminds us that we don’t have to because Jesus already did. We may feel that life sucks, and we make think that our life is in no danger of ever getting any better. “Same crap, different toilet” may be how we view our world, but God invites us to come out of the bathroom altogether. He invites us outside of the homes we have built for ourselves and into a new world He has built just for us – one of fresh hope, life, purpose, and knowledge of Him.
If only people could see Jesus and the intense and intentional love He has for them. If only people could know that He has the power to change their world, along with their heart. If only people could know that their future doesn’t have to be anything like their past, and that they have a Father who is ready, willing, and able to rescue them from the despair and depression into which life has thrown them – maybe then they would reconsider ending it all. Maybe then they would take a step toward experiencing the glory of God by becoming, themselves, fully alive.
This is a strange post, I admit – and to be honest, I’m still praying through a lot of it. But I guess my point is this. If you ever find yourself in such despair that you don’t think life is worth living any longer – please hear me. Life IS worth living. And God is ready to show you the life HE has for you if you’re willing to stop trying to control your own.
Maybe you’re alone and need to vent. Maybe you just need to be around some people who will love on you. Whatever you need, I assure you that if you are willing, God has someone already stationed in your life who is ready to help – wherever you are. For example, God has given me the privilege of serving as the pastor of one of the most caring, loving, and friendly churches you’ll ever find on planet earth. If you visit The Rising, you won’t leave there unloved. And if you just need to talk with someone, you are always welcome to call us. Myself or one of our other staff members are always ready to make a new friend, share stories, and walk together to discover how God wants to revolutionize our lives by teaching us to stop focusing on our lives.
Please don’t feel as if you’re alone. You’re not. God is there. So are His people. He always has been there – and He wants you. He wants you SO bad. Just give Him a shot. If you do, your world will change. Guaranteed.
Before you give your life away to nothing – try giving it to Him first.
Never give up. Never give up. Never give up!!!
May you Know the Abundance of His Presence, His Spirit, and His Love.