Monday, January 30, 2012

regarding suicide

Someone asked me why God doesn’t intervene when a person commits suicide.  I can’t say I know the answer to this question for sure, but it’s an important topic so I can at least offer an exploration.

Suicide is a temptation.  A common one.  According to the Canadian Psychiatric Association (2002), “Suicide is the second leading cause of death for Canadians between the ages of 10 and 24.”

With any temptation, there’s a choice to succumb or resist.  Scripture says, “No temptation has seized you except what is common to man.  And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear.” 1 Cor 10:13   I think a person can mistakenly believe she cannot bear a temptation, instead of realizing an escape.  I think that could be the mistaken belief that leads someone to kill herself, or attempt it.

A person might think he can’t manage the situations in his life or his inner turmoil, when the truth is that there’s always a way to cope.  Part of the problem is that it’s so difficult to wait for revelation, to wait for God to show us how to deal with things.  The waiting and searching means more suffering, but when insight finally arrives, life makes a little more sense and hope rises up (even though we won’t be able to fully understand).  In the meantime, perseverance, determination and cries for help are necessary weapons for fighting.

We’re impatient.  We want God to fix us, or intervene, immediately.  We don’t like to think that our suffering has a purpose because how can something so painful have a purpose?  And sometimes our suffering overwhelms us to the point of not being able to think clearly enough to understand that heartache and misery will eventually dissipate.

I don’t know if this is a sufficient answer, but it’s all I can offer because I don’t think we’re meant to understand the ways of God.  All we can do is trust and let Him work.   What I do know is that having withstood frightening and morbid temptations, and very difficult trials, I’ve developed a kind of secret confidence that relies not on my own understanding but on the Great Unseen.

I’m still wounded.  I’m still aching and sometimes still angry.  I’m not all that amazing, but my perspective has slowly changed and probably still has more transformation to undergo.  And thanks to love and the influence of art, I've grown to embrace the process.


Wyatt said...

I wrote a book that, in part, covered the topic of the Christian and Suicide. The truth is God does often times intercede but we are so lost in our pain, in our sense of isolation to truly and rightly see that. No one who commits suicide wants to believe they are alone in the despair that they feel, but we don't see the signs that we are not alone. And so, amidst the short term pain that we feel, the permanent solution often becomes the one that we opt for.

Leah Schouten said...

Thanks, Wyatt. That's a good explanation.

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