Suicide: A Worrying Trend in Ireland

It was a depressing foggy winter’s evening as I glanced at my watch, wondering why my husband was so late home from work. Some time later I discovered to my dismay that his train had been delayed because of a fatality on the railway line and it appeared that this was no accident. Unfortunately this has not been an isolated incident over the years and now, as the festive season comes to an end and we enter a new year, I have been reflecting on the statistics which will be released for 2011. A recent report has found that men under the age of 35 accounted for 40% of all suicides, 527 people died by suicide in the Republic of Ireland in 2010 and Northern Irish suicides have risen by a staggering 64% in the last decade. But, horrific statistics aside, I feel dismay at the thought of the mental anguish that each individual soul must be suffering to commit such an act.

I have also been thinking on Biblical examples of the Lord’s servants who went though low times in their lives. David clearly reveals this in many of his psalms and Job is a prime example of someone who has gone through so much that he feels despair for a time – but praise God for His goodness to these two men and His love for all mankind today!

Ultimately David and Job triumphed over their respective situations, because their hope was in the Holy One of Israel. In the words of Job: “For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God:” (Job 19v25&26)

Job faced more tragedy in a short space of time than most people could physically face over a lifetime. While most of his ‘comforters’ became his accusers, God loved Job; he was victorious in the end – and today is rejoicing eternally with his Saviour.

Yes, God loved Job, He loved David and He loves you and I – whatever giant despair threatens to overwhelm us. Surely love is the answer? Bereavement, loss, being diagnosed with a serious illness and many other issues can all contribute to an individual’s depressive feelings but when we know that we are truly loved and cared for, it can change our whole perspective on life.

Today, whoever you are, wherever you are and whatever your problems are, you can be certain of this one fact… God loves you! Although you may feel that no one on this earth loves you – you can be sure of God’s love for you. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (John 3v16)

Jesus said: “Peace I leave with you, my peace give I unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” (1John 14v27)

These are the words of the Lord Jesus Christ to all who have repented of their sins and who have put their trust in Him.

Yes, it may be good to talk to a professional counsellor when one is feeling low, but surely the best Counsellor of all is He who loved you enough to give His very life for you? At this moment, if you do not know Him as Saviour, I would urge you to trust in Him for salvation. Your prayer can be a simple one, in your own words… “Dear Heavenly Father, forgive me for all sins I have ever committed. Please come into my life and take over my problems – I entrust them all into your care.”

If, however, you do know Jesus as Saviour today and like Job, you are facing some deep waters – ask the Lord to turn this testing time into something positive and wonderful. Whatever happens, be assured of this… “For here we have no continuing city, but we seek one to come.” (Hebrews 13v14) Remember too, if you are a Christian to reach out prayerfully in His love to souls around you, for who knows what turmoil your neighbour or that fellow traveller who stands beside you daily on the railway platform is going through…

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