A father once told his child, “We come into this world naked, wet and hungry. Then life gets hard.”
Sadly, life can become so hard that people commit suicide.
A standing-room-only crowd turned out in Helena for the 2014 Montana Conference on Suicide Prevention because of the pressing question, “Why do people take their lives?” The Billings Gazette reported that Montana — along with Wyoming — is ranked No. 1 in suicides. “The rate is twice the national rate,” the story reported.
In attendance at the Helena conference was an insightful practitioner from Missoula who was quoted as saying, “It’s harder to find answers about life and so many people see suicide as the only option.”
Todd Kashdan, Ph.D., professor of psychology at George Mason University, states in his research that suicide is due to a combination of a lot of things, such as painful illness, loneliness, rejection, abuse, deep sadness, guilt, depression and helplessness. Each of these breaking points are rooted in pain.
When it comes to pain as a common denominator, Dr. Charles Raison, CNNHealth’s mental health expert at the University of Arizona in Tucson, writes, “Severe major depression is probably the most unbearable pain a human being can withstand for any protracted period. Many people who die of cancer have written eloquently about how the crushing pain ... paled in comparison to the pain they felt when depressed. It causes one to see the entire world as pain. It feels painful inside, but it also feels painful outside.”
Painful inside? Is it possible to look inside in our search for answers?
Man’s Creator-God teaches us in his Bible about this matter of internal pain which is at work on man’s soul. Due to the alarming crisis of suicide, I’d like to reach back to June 19, 2004, when The Billings Gazette graciously printed an article we submitted about this painful and pain-filled matter. May this brief summary of that article aid even one reader in solving and surviving the personal threat to end their life.
In Ecclesiastes 1:14, God directed Solomon to write of the “vexation of man’s spirit” that can reach a breaking point. In Ecclesiastes 1:13, the Holy Spirit of God revealed how trials are for the purpose of leading our “wills” to bow down before God and to lean on the Lord’s everlasting arms. “This
severe travail (a part of life on earth) has been given to the sons of man to be bowed down therewith.”
This is a very unnatural posture for the human will, since we are all by nature hostile toward God, according to Romans 5:10. We do not like to be regulated and we do not like to be controlled. That’s why sin is called lawlessness, and by nature we are born lawless.
It’s not that we are consciously on the warpath. Most people don’t feel conscious hostility toward God. But this hostility is often manifested subtly by way of our quiet insubordination and indifference toward God’s holy, life-giving standards. Romans 8:7 reads, “The mind that is set on the flesh (our self-interest) is hostile toward God, for our will does not submit to God’s law.”
So, there will be a battle in this area of submitting our will to Jesus Christ.
Either our independent “will” humbly submits to our need for God’s forgiving grace and love and Lordship when faced with life’s pain, or our fragile “spirit” loses its desire to live while under the relentless pressure of life. Something has to give; it will be either man’s willfulness or his will to live.
When a burdened soul jumps from a bridge, it takes a broken “spirit” to decide to jump, but a fully intact “will” to actually fulfill the act. Either the “will” gives in to God’s much needed perspective and purpose for living on, or the “spirit” gives in to the hopelessness of the situation. Thus, the will decides to take control of its destiny so as to alleviate the pain by an act of suicide.
Oh, may the Savior be the choice over suicide. Permit the pain to point your heart toward Jesus Christ, who is “the way, the truth, and the life.” Abandon your life of empty and broken dreams for God’s gift of a life of meaning and purpose.
Jesus said in John 10:10, “I came that they might have life, and that they might have it to the full.” Begin a new life by casting yourself on Christ for his forgiveness of your sins. Life with Christ is an endless hope; without him, it’s a hopeless end.