Did you know that every year over 40,000 people commit suicide? On average, about 8 out of 10 individuals who take their life are males, and the majority of them are ethnically white–followed by American Indians, Asians, Blacks, and Hispanics.
Moreover, suicide is the second leading cause of death among young adults–killing more people than cancer, heart disease, and stroke combined. This doesn’t include the 650,000 suicidal attempts that end in non-fatal injuries. What a shocking and sad statistic.
In 2012, my wife and I went to Winter jam, the largest Christian based musical tour in the United States. The year we went the theme was “Let your light shine.” I remember the speaker that year was Nick Hall. He began his message by shining a flashlight around the whole arena, illustrating the importance of being a good friend, neighbor, and “light” to those in darkness. Then he began to mention life issues that people struggled with: Peer pressure, drugs, fear, anxiety and depression, and how our light as Christians are to positively affect those around us.
He told a story about a young woman who came to the concert a few weeks back. She told Nick her struggles with depression. She felt like there was no reason to live, was a burden to others, felt trapped, and wanted to end her life. This woman always wore a necklace with a heart emblem.
Inside the emblem was a razor. Whenever she felt sad, she would take out the razor and cut her wrist to alleviate the anxiety and turmoil she experienced from within. The night she went to the concert, she was contemplating suicide, but instead, gave her life to the Lord. Afterwards, she handed the necklace over to Nick and insisted he share her story with the rest of the world on tour about the hope she found in Christ. What an amazing story.
Have you ever contemplated thoughts of suicide? You are not alone. There are godly people today and those in the Bible who struggled with sinful thoughts to end their lives. Solomon said he hated life (Eccl. 2:17) and yet advised the world to fear God and keep His commandments. After Elijah’s great victory over the 450 prophets of Baal, he became very depressed and yearned for death (1 Kgs. 19:4) but God spoke to Elijah and sent an angel to comfort him during this trial. Even the Apostle Paul struggled with depressing thoughts. He said in 2 Corinthians 1:8 that he was under great pressure, far beyond his ability to endure, so that he despaired of life itself. Nevertheless, Paul trusted that His great God could bear his burdens.
We know that suicide is wrong because it’s murder. By taking our own life, we are rejecting God’s gift of life and marring his character. God is the giver of life–only He has the divine right to determine the day and hour of our death. Job 1:21 says, “The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised.” It’s up to God whether to give life or end it. We must be willing to live for his glory, no matter how hard and depressing moments can be. I know it’s difficult, but all things are possible through the power of God.
When in doubt, remember these lyrics from Robert Keen’s hymn “How Firm a Foundation.” Never give up.
- When through fiery trials thy pathway shall lie,My grace, all sufficient, shall be thy supply.The flame shall not hurt thee; I only designThy dross to consume, thy dross to consume,Thy dross to consume and thy gold to refine.
- When through the deep waters I call thee to go,The rivers of sorrow shall not thee o’erflow,For I will be with thee, thy troubles to bless,And sanctify to thee, and sanctify to thee,And sanctify to thee thy deepest distress.