The past few days have been challenging for so many of my friends and family. A 14-year-old boy was buried yesterday. This afternoon I received a call for a 16-year-old in crisis. When I respond to crisis I always ask for prayer. More than 220 friends rallied to the call to pray. Thankfully, the young man is now under the care of doctors. He still needs your prayers.
This morning I responded to the text of a friend whose husband took his life last year. She was wondering about disappointment from God concerning suicide. I shared that the Bible says we can “grieve the Holy Spirit” and that “Jesus wept over Jerusalem.” So, if disappointment is an emotion, I suppose it is possible for an all-knowing God to be disappointed. But it is not disappointment "IN" us. It is disappointment "FOR" us. Just as we would be disappointed for our child when she is one point away from making honor roll or when he loses the championship game by a field goal.
Disappointment "IN” implies condemnation, shame and being against that which we are disappointed in. "FOR" implies compassion and walking with (not against) the one we are disappointed for. The Bible says, “there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ.” So, although suicide grieves the heart of God, it is not a grief mixed with disappointment in the person that has died or one who has attempted suicide. If we as loving parents recognize that losing the game or not making honor roll does not change our love for our child, I believe we can expect the same from a loving heavenly Father when it comes to loved ones that have died by suicide.
We live today in a world on edge. Will Smith is just a microcosm of what is happening throughout society. I said two years ago that we would soon see a tidal wave of mental health crisis. But it goes beyond that. My hometown community on the last day of the first quarter is already at 61% of our worst year ever for suicide. But suicide is not driven by mental health issues alone. There is a spiritual crisis that few are willing to acknowledge. I had a friend tell me they to “go to church and the pastor just talks about sports or makes jokes and all the while I am dying on the inside.” I have had others tell me I need to be careful about talking about spiritual problems in my training or I will be canceled and never invited back to certain venues. Recently, I was asked, “is your training faith based?” I am to the point now of saying IF IT IS NOT, IT IS A WASTE of TIME. People are losing faith in whatever their faith was in, and the end result is to spiral into the abyss of hopelessness.
I have found in my own life that when I have days like today, I must seek the face of God. I was broken today concerned about a 16-year-old that has become near and dear to my heart. Before I headed to him, I called out to a cousin. He could hear my tears. He began to pray for me, and that spirit of heaviness was overcome by the grace of God so that I could do what I needed to do.
I have always known, but every day I am more convinced that my only hope is in knowing that there is a Savior. He is my refuge and strength a very present help in time of trouble.