So give me something to believe
‘Cause I am living just to breathe…
–Believe, The Bravery
There is a stark white space in which people sometimes find themselves in the still hours of the early morning. Its ashen walls are the accumulated debris of life’s challenges and tragedies. Its heavy ceiling has settled into place during the years in which the hope of the room’s prisoner soured and dissolved. The quiet is deafening and there appears to be no windows, no doors, no way out. This is the hellish, lonely place in which some people sit before they commit suicide.
“How did I get here?” they wonder, yet no one seems to answer. The thought bounces around their cell, mocking them as they think back to better times. “If there is a God, where is He?” they ask, as the sneering voices with no bodies tell them life’s not worth it and death is the only answer. The air is toxic and it makes every fiber of their beings scream more.
Many things bring people to this box. Sometimes life deals a string of blows that knocks them down every time they get up. Being sexually violated and used lures victims to this hell hole. Horrors like the loss of a loved one or the death of a child bring them here. Financial disasters, divorces, uncertainty, a lack of social support, elusive success, and relationship problems suck them in. Mental illness can play a role in convincing people that they must escape from their wounded bodies. Life’s problems can be legion, and the pain and pressure of simply existing can be overwhelming.
If you are in this box, the pit where the oxygen is being sucked out and you want to pull the plug before anything or anyone else can hurt you, there’s something you need to know. Taking your own life won’t solve your problems. It will only put you in a place where you are still acutely aware of your problems but you can’t do anything about them.
That’s not an original thought. It’s a profound statement made by a veteran police officer who works with people struggling with suicide. Suicide is not removing yourself from your problems; it is removing yourself from any possibility of solving those problems. To solve them, you need to stay here with the rest of us.
Please wait. There’s more. If you feel suicidal and are reading this, it shows that you still looking for help and answers. What you are feeling is not freakish or shameful or unique. Many great people have found themselves in this eerie state of aloneness and found their way back out. There’s a wonderful saying to describe what happened when the situation passed, “just when the caterpillar thought the world was over, it became a butterfly.”
I do know who said this: “if you’re going through hell, keep going.” That is from Winston Churchill, a man who led his countrymen through World War II. While I’d already heard that, I found it on the underside of my iced tea lid during a difficult time. I set it on the kitchen windowsill where I’d see it often. It reminded me that we are commanded to persist, to endure, and to take our eyes off of the seemingly insurmountable problems right in front of us and keep them on the bigger, better things ahead of us.
If you’re thinking about suicide, you might not think there’s bigger, better things because there hasn’t been so far. But how do you know that unless you stay here to find out? That’s a gamble worth taking. Here’s one reason why. Next to the Winston Churchill quote sits another iced tea lid. This one quotes Douglas Malloch, saying “good timber does not grow with ease; the stronger the wind, the stronger the trees.” If you survive the present storm you find yourself in, you are going to be stronger and more able to weather any future storms. This, here, now—this could make you stronger if you let it. Find your way out of this hole, and you may be able to help others out of theirs.
Does life seem meaningless? Have you been a giving and hard-working person who seems to always get taken advantage of or hurt by those energy-sucking narcissists we call vampires? Have your parents abandoned you, or has someone ripped your heart out and kept kicking you when you’re down? Have you done good and been rewarded with evil?
I want to paint a picture for you. A few weeks ago on a Friday night I was struck by a thought so powerful that I had to write it down. I saw a person standing in a blank space. They had suffered a terrible injustice and felt like no one noticed and no one cared. They felt violated, afraid, and completely abandoned by the legal system and everyone else who should have helped them.
All of the sudden the picture changed. There was now a backdrop of God on His throne and scores of angels gathered around. Instantly I was struck by the thought that we are never alone. It may feel like it, and sometimes it feels like God has turned His back. But wait—He sees everything. He’s there. He’s keeping score. He knows exactly what we’re feeling. He will give us justice, even if it takes until the end of our lives. Even when the universe seems devoid of God and nothing makes sense, He hasn’t moved. He’s watching.
The Psalmist understood this. Pursued by enemies who had no good reason to hate him, vexed by problems with his family and friends, he told God exactly how he felt when he found himself in those desolate lonely places. He cried out. And he kept crying out. He knew God heard him and he believed God would answer, even if that wasn’t right away. Much of what you’re feeling right now, he felt. Try reading a Psalm, and you might feel a kinship with a man who lived 3000 years ago who experienced some of the same things.
You might not believe in God. You might blame Him for everything bad that’s happened. In your circumstances, that might be totally understandable. I don’t understand why a lot of bad things happen either. But I’ve learned something through it all—God allows what He can use. If you feel that there’s nothing left of you and you have nothing left to offer, you’re wrong. It’s been said that God doesn’t call the qualified. He qualifies the called. He fills you. He makes you whole. It is in Him, as the scripture says, that we live and move and have our being. Right now it’s about what He can do through you.
This is the point at which it’s okay to let Him know that you can’t do it anymore; He needs to do it for you. He is not bound by time and circumstance. He has unlimited power. Max Lucado says that your toughest challenges are bobby pins and rubber bands to God. This does not mean that God answers us when and how we want Him to answer; He knows best and will answer in His way. Someone once said that God always answers our prayer– either He changes the circumstances, or He supplies sufficient power to overcome them.
Here’s another assurance for you—you should not be ashamed of getting to the point at which you are considering suicide. You are responding to a flashing warning sign that says, “hey, something has to change.” This is a good time to call a crisis line or just about anyone who will listen. Thanks to crisis lines, there is always someone to listen. Churches are a good place to call too. Many churches have crisis lines. Find one online or in the phone book.
God will listen too. He’s available 24/7 and no matter what you’ve done He wants you to spend some time talking to Him. Be honest. Tell Him everything. He already knows. He just needs to hear it straight from you. He won’t make you ashamed. He’s all about letting you know how unique and amazing you are. He made you to do something that no one else on earth can do. He knows your every thought. He wants to walk right beside you and help you fight through the rough spots. Perhaps He will use the crisis you are in to center you, to help you reprioritize, and to show you what you are meant to do with your life from here forward.
If you are besieged by those nagging voices that tell you you’re not worth it, you should just let go, you’re a loser, no one wants you, you’ll never pay those bills, you’re too far gone for anyone to love you—rebuke them. They are lies straight from the father of lies. An all-powerful Creator who calls you His child loves you—that alone makes you worth it.
Your life has immeasurable value. Your mission here is not done. Listen to the voice that reminds you of what’s right about you, and what wonders can still be realized in your life. Ignore the damning red-hot pokers that stab your mind and heart at times like this. You can do this. You’ve read this far. You’re doing it.
-Taking your own life is not a solution to your problems; you can only solve them if you stay here.
-Your life may be hell on earth right now, but this isn’t the end. Keep walking.
-Getting through this can make you stronger—much, much stronger.
-God is in control and He sees everything no matter how alone you feel.
-Open your Bible or go to www.biblegateway.com. Find the Psalms. That guy knew despair and loneliness and betrayal, but no matter what he faced, his attitude was not “God, here is my problem,” but “problem, here is my God!”
-God can use this situation and these circumstances. No matter how broken. No matter how ugly.
-Be honest with God. Tell Him how you feel. You’re His child. He made you and He loves hearing from you.
As you make the decisions you are facing right now, I invite you to draw on God’s power and break free of that box. I don’t think that’s what He’s had planned for you. You’re still here because you have not fulfilled your mission and there is much work left to do. Don’t be ashamed. Don’t berate yourself for feeling this way. You can get through this.
As C.S. Lewis said, it is seldom the exact present that is unbearable. Take it step by step and don’t measure yourself in terms of what other people think. Measure yourself in terms of how God thinks. He loves you, and He has a plan for you that is literally outside of the box. Now is not the time to give up, no matter how overwhelming the desire to do so is.
For those in my life who are facing huge struggles right now, remember that not only does God love you, but I love you too. You always matter to me and I am here for you. I know you are stronger than the fire you walk through and brighter days are ahead.
God has made you to walk through shadows. When the shadow
approaches, you must walk through. –Adrian Rogers
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4 thoughts on “Suicide”
Dear Wild Ninja,
You took my breath away with your blog on suicide. There are so many people out there hurting. Thanks for stepping up to encourage hurting people.
Thank you, and thanks for reading the post!
Thank you! I hope He does. There’s a lot of people out there who are hurting and feel hopeless.
Powerful thoughts, powerful writing. . .may our powerful God use this blog to turn many, many people to a future of hope and gladness.