I Still Miss Them
Suicide has affected my life. From Jose, my friend in junior high, my mentor who helped prepare me for my transition to living overseas as a missionary, to the grandmother that I never knew, I have known several individuals who influenced my life and who eventually decided to take their own lives. More recently, hearing of Robin Williams’ passing created a great sadness within me. A man who had taught me to laugh at myself through his creative characters in movies left me asking “why?” once again.
Suicide & Our Spiritual Lives
The Bible is a reflection of our culture in many ways, so it is not surprising that there are six suicides recorded in the Bible, none of them being viewed favorably or as a legitimate way out even during challenging times. Dr. Gary Stewart, co-author of “Suicide: A Christian Response”, reminds us as we grow in our understanding of God and life, there is a hope that inspires us even in the midst of events that cause despair. Stewart further states that the reality of our lives is that we will suffer on this earth whether we are Children of God or not. As a follower of Christ, I do believe there is hope in the midst of suffering which can help give context to our struggles. For me, instead of blaming God for the pain in my life, I choose to live by faith in Him. That can sound superficial and somewhat trite when so many of us live in the trenches of darkness during certain seasons of our lives. The Apostle Paul shared that we are to be sensitive to the needs of those around us and to encourage and support those who are in the midst of storms. By doing so, we help others carry their burdens and fulfill the law of Christ which is to love God and our neighbor.
So what do we do when we have a friend who is struggling with despair or depression and has admitted to having thoughts of taking his or her life? It is important for such a person to have a caring friend to help with the “ministry of presence,” but it is not the friend’s responsibility to carry that burden alone. It may be time to help them get the professional help he or she may need. As Christians, I believe that we are, as Stewart states, “images (reflections) of God’s will and character in a dark and depraved world.” This is true even though our knowledge and understanding of God remains incomplete. Having a relationship with God is a marathon race that involves many highs and lows that can leave us feeling broken and wounded. But God promises that He will never leave us nor forsake us (2 Deut. 31:8).
Suicide claimed 39,518 lives in 2011 in the United States alone, with someone dying by suicide every 13.3 minutes. A suicide attempt is made every minute of every day, resulting in nearly one million attempts annually.
My family and I are joining with others to participate in the upcoming “Out of the Darkness Community Walk” in Columbia, SC . We would like to invite you to join with us as we participate in this important walk. There are also additional locations around the country where these walks will occur. You may even want to walk in honor of a friend who has been lost to this struggle.
We will be joining with thousands of people nationwide to walk in the Columbia Area Walk, benefiting the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP), and we would appreciate any support that you can give for this worthwhile cause.
For more information, click on the following link:
Thank you for joining with us in this important opportunity.
A Question for You
I have found that suicide has influenced most of us in one way or another. In what way has suicide affected you and your family? Post your comments here.