Suicide, Sadness and So What Now?
I just read an article about a fellow minister of the gospel choosing to take his own life. This man, though I don’t know him, is a brother by faith-filled DNA and through our mutual chosen profession. And to hear this news sucks.
At this point, no one knows why he did it and at this point, it won’t make it easier for his wife and two kids to know the why…or maybe it will…or maybe it won’t because he won’t be able to reply to their follow-up questions.
...Maybe he found out something about himself.
...Maybe someone found something on him.
...Maybe he secretly suffered from severe depression and mental illness. Maybe he suffered openly.
...Maybe he was scared and felt no way out for whatever situation he was in.
Lots of maybes…one know: I know he thought this was his only way out.
He joins a number of pastors who have chosen the same route among the number of pastors admitting to suffer from loneliness, friendlessness and depression.
Did he have no one to talk to? Was he afraid of losing his job by being vulnerable? Or did he have those things in place but felt that they weren’t enough?
His wife. His kids. They have a ‘stigma’ on them, even if ‘the church’ says they won’t. They are the family of that tragedy. Damaged. Who will be with them?
Most of my posts make sense…but moments like these don’t and to aim to make sense of it…of THIS…doesn’t make sense. A church is without a leader. A wife has lost her love. Kids their dad. Parents their son…and on and on it goes. Ugh.
It’s weird to write this kind of 'post' post-Easter. Most tweets were joyful and "live in the resurrection 24-7, y'all!" But the reality is, life sucks at times. It's really dark. And yet, we live on this side of the Resurrection, in the love of the one who can make good of any circumstance (a paraphrase of Romans 8). So I pray that this church will trust in the resurrected Christ and find peace in the midst of questions. I don't say this to hide under the "We've got to pray just to make it today" but this is who we are. This is what we do.
And I pray that pastors and leaders who serve in lonely places would lean heavily on Christ AND on His bride for help. These leaders are prone to attacks; from outside their zones AND from within their own thoughts and hearts. They need help. And may his bride be ready, without condemnation but with grace and truth. And with no answers or questions…just hugs and tears.
...special note to future leaders currently studying in various places in the world. If you're in a dark place, tell someone. You don't live in the day and age where depression meant that you had spiritual sin in your life than needed the altar. You live in a day and age where you can ask for help and be open with your struggles. Talk to someone now. If it means meds, take em. If it means confessing sin, confess that you would be healed. If means life or death, choose life.
And at the same time, don't become so clinical that you forget that God can heal us. He is in the habit of restoring hope to people every day. May He do so for you.
May He do so for all of us.