BIBLE VERSE FOR TODAY… ‘Why should you destroy yourself? Be not overly wicked, neither be a fool. Why should you die before your time?” Ecclesiastes 7:16-17 ESV
We live in a world that is fighting an epidemic of suicide. It is prevalent in our communities from our military veterans to our youth. Colorado has one of the highest suicide rates in the nation. When we lived in Lakewood and Jefferson County there seemed to be an inordinate number of teen suicides and recently I have found that same to be true in Larimer County.
Colorado recently passed a “right to die” amendment that allows the terminally ill to end their life. Yet everyday there are those who have given up on life and feel that the inevitable direction of their life and the only recourse is death.
That was the case with a young man, years ago, in India by the name of E.V. Abraham. He went to a motel room and was prepared to stick a gun in his mouth and end his life. There was a Bible on a nearby table. It was like he heard a voice that told him, “take up and read.” He did know where to turn, but as he opened the Bible it was on the page he read where the verse above was found. “Why should you destroy yourself?….Why should you die before your time?”
In God’s sovereign plan, intervened for a confused young man who is now a pastor in one of the most challenging parts of India. God spared his life and he has given his life to saving others from physical and spiritual death.
David declared, “But I trust in you, Lord; I say, “You are my God.” My times are in your hands…” (Psalm 31:14,15 NIV) Solomon declared, “For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die…” (Ecclesiastes 3:1,2 ESV)
It is all too easy for many in times of despair and in the confusion of the moment to feel that the end of their troubles is found in the end of their life. But God has a better plan. He desires us to know His presence and love that provides hope and purpose. Unfortunately many do not have that understanding.
Debbie recently had a co-worker take her own life. She was one who had been very supportive of us during my health crisis. But in her suicide note one of the issues she addressed was not finding any peace spiritually in her life.
We do have an obligation to be aware of those around us, to reach out, to connect. When there are those who are withdrawing it is important to pay attention. For those who are in despair it is almost impossible for them to reach out and seek the help that is available. Paul wrote of his time in Asia, “We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired of life itself.” (2 Corinthians 1:8 NIV)
The circumstances are different, but the feelings can be the same for those who contemplate whether life is worth living. These are complicated issues that defy simple solutions. We need to know that our God is a God of life, abundant life and is able to reach people even in the darkness of despair.
Prayer for today…. Lord, remind us that in our darkest times, You are there. When we feel to be without hope, we can find hope. Help us to remember how illusive what You offer is to others and enable us to be a source of comfort and hope to others.