Tonight’s post is a little different from my usual posts. This is not a post I wanted to write but the topic is near to my heart and something I feel passionately about. It is also something I have both struggled with and something I understand. Finally, it is something that Jesus died for. And in the end, all is grace.
Suicide. The word is scary and painful. We don’t know what to make of it or how to feel it. It is deeply bitter and ties our stomachs in knots. It is my guess that most of us know something about it—far more about it than we wish we did.
Tonight, I want to remember the life of a young man I did ministry with. I first met him one glistening winter day, and he had beautiful blue eyes and a sparkling smile to match. Though it was such a short season that our paths crossed, I was blessed by his presence on Sundays. He loved Jesus and his excitement and joy in him was so evident. We had many good conversations, as I frequently got to be the team leader for my nursery room, so did check-in, while he ran the check-in kiosk for all the nursery rooms.
We had similar faith stories and congruent purposes in life. Though neither one of us had outgoing personalities, something resonated with us and we talked like we’d known each other long before meeting at church. The half-hour or so of time we had on Sundays always went far too fast and before we knew it, I went into the nursery room and he went back upstairs. The weeks we did check-in together were some of my best, as I both loved the joy that poured from his heart and face in all his conversations and interactions and his deep commitment to following Christ.
But I have regrets with our friendship. I didn’t get to know him beyond church and didn’t keep in touch with him after we went our separate ways that spring. With situations like this, one always wonders, “should I have noticed something?” or “what if I’d played a more active role in his life?” or “what if life had gone differently for him? What then?”
Only God really knows. Only God fully knows the excruciating pain that drives us to desperate extremes. Only God.
I have no answers for this, but I fully trust in the sovereignty and goodness of God in these terrible circumstances. All I know is that Jesus died for everything. His death nailed depression, worthlessness, and suicide to the cross. There is freedom from death in the death and life of Jesus; but not everyone experiences that freedom in this life.
We take our eyes off Jesus and get consumed with the horribleness of this life. When life is a tragedy, nothing looks or feels right anymore. And just like Peter, we sink. We cannot walk on water without Jesus. And we can’t row our own boats in the storms without Him. Nor can we fight the deep, dark waves of depression and death by ourselves. We were made to do life with Him. We were made for Him.
I know nothing, but in the end, all is grace. Jesus is grace. And that is enough.