Confession. I have intimately conversed with suicidal thoughts on multiple occasions.
If you have read my previous posts discussing my struggle with depression or had any kind of deep conversation with me, this may not come as a shock to you. I tell you in light of Isaac Hunter’s death to explain that it is realistically possible to have salvation through Jesus Christ and yet consider suicide as an escape from seemingly hopeless despair. This is not to say that I know whether or not anyone is truly saved but to say that it’s not impossible to take such a desperate act as a believer in Christ.
Does this mean that God considers suicide an option? No! Suicide is an untrusting act of selfishness. It is like saying to God, “Your plan to get me out of this dark time in my life is not working for me, so I’m going to take control.”
So, why would someone who has been given freedom through Christ’s salvation even consider suicide as an option? Let me tell you why I’ve considered it in the past.
I felt trapped.
I felt trapped. Whether by circumstances or the overwhelming emotion that comes by depression, I couldn’t see how I was going to get through that time in my life. It is painful. It is heart-wrenching. I cried out for mercy and God just said, “Just hang in there.” Only I didn’t really hear Him. God seemed silent to me and I felt alone. I didn’t think I could bear the pain any longer and I just wanted a way out.
I was too much of a burden
I felt like I was too much of a burden to others. There have been times when my depression was so debilitating that I couldn’t take care of myself. I had to rely on others to get me through the day–sometimes even the hour–and I was ashamed of my dependence. I didn’t want to bring these people down and away from their lives to pull me out of my pit. I figured it would be better for them if I wasn’t here.
I just wanted to be with Jesus
I just wanted to be with Jesus face to face. I wanted to be free of my pain and have my Lord hold me in His arms. The image in Revelation 19 of Christ coming in on a white horse to rescue me was so inviting. I wasn’t sure I could wait until his second coming. I just wanted heaven NOW.
Are any of these reasons to take one’s own life acceptable? No. They are all based on lies. For other people, there may be other reasons they consider suicide. These were mine. Here is the truth behind the lies I was believing.
I wasn’t trapped. God wasn’t silent. I wasn’t alone. I just couldn’t see through the pain in order to see God and the people He surrounded me with to comfort me. I couldn’t see through the fear. I wasn’t the only one experiencing the thoughts and emotions I was having; I just thought I was. I did hang in just a little while longer and was able to look back and see how God was there and I was free all along. If there were barriers, they were only temporary and it was God that knocked them down in the long run.
I was a burden to others, but God calls us to bear one another’s burdens. Galatians 6 makes this very clear. The people who were bearing mine did so gladly because they loved and cared for me. They rejoiced with me when I was well again. In fact, ultimately they were the reason I didn’t follow through with my suicidal thoughts. I couldn’t bear having them think that they failed in being able to help me through. I didn’t want to see them go through such effort for nothing. They brought me to the feet of Jesus, just like the paralytic’s friends.
Yes, being in heaven and sitting side by side with my savior is something I still long for almost every day. However, God’s plan for our lives is so much bigger than the reward of heaven at the end of it. It’s God who decides when we are ready to meet our Maker, not us. As a believer, we trust Christ with our lives when we receive his gift of salvation, so we should also trust him with our days on this earth.
Thankfully, I had people surrounding me during my low points that reminded me of this regularly. God has a plan to use me for His glory, it is not my responsibility to control that. When I didn’t have the faith and didn’t have the hope, I borrowed from others. Being a vessel of God’s glory is not easy. It’s often very difficult and very painful. But God promises that heaven is so much greater when we are obedient to God’s plan on this earth.
I experienced victory over these dark times in my life. It is only by God’s grace that I didn’t give in to the suicidal thoughts. Isaac wasn’t so fortunate. Is he a victim to Satan’s ploy? Yes. Is that a good enough excuse? No. He had a choice just like I had a choice. He had the availability of those people to bring him to the foot of Jesus and he chose not to go there.
We can be angry at him and sad for him at the same time. I think that’s ok. There were times when Isaac was obedient and really impacted people’s lives for God’s glory; mine included. It’s unfortunate that he didn’t hang on a little longer to let that be true again.
If you’ve fallen into a pit of darkness, please reach out. There is nothing to be ashamed of. If you think you have no one to reach out to, please contact me or find a local church or counselor.