The Word on the Week

Suicide 2012.

During the call for prayer requests last Sunday in a small country Church there was a sharp intake of breath when a request was made to pray for the family of a man whose cousin’s son had died by his own hand some 3 days previously. The boy was in his mid-teens and although he was of a quiet disposition there were no abnormal features to his lifestyle which might have alerted his family and friends.

Monday 10th September is World Suicide Prevention Day. It has been established in response to the rising levels of suicide with the idea that prevention is the cure.

Here lies the difficulty as reasons for suicide are hard to find. Each individual case presents a personal tragedy where the reasons are seldom immediately obvious, even to those within the closest circles of family and friends. Moreover, the problems are never one-dimensional or easily fixed. They accumulate till the darkness seems impenetrable and death the only solution.

Those who are left behind have the impossible task of trying to make sense of where it all went wrong. The spectres of guilt and blame appear out of impregnable mess of suicide as the search goes on for the reason why.
We cannot untangle it. We want clarity when life bleeds, and we think that answers will close the gaping wound of confusion. Like Job, this understanding can be the very thing that we demand in vain from God. 

In one of the Biblical scenes where we see Satan at work he tempts Jesus to kill himself by throwing himself off the pinnacle of the Temple. This suggestion to suicide was answered from scripture and the evil plan thwarted (St Matthew Chapter 4 verses 6/7).

The Apostle Paul wrote of his own struggles with unanswered prayer when he asked for his ailment to be cured. The Lord did not take away the pain but promised to provide the grace to endure it (2Corinthians chapter 12 verse 9). It is the promise of this supply of grace which sustains those who grieve over the loss of a loved one. Answers are beyond our comprehension but promises can uphold us as we mourn with those who mourn.