Posts Tagged ‘depression’

Reflections on World Suicide Prevention Day

September 10, 2016

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This is a very sensitive subject which I have touched on before, because of its prevalence in Irish society. Statistics show that some countries are more affected by it than others… but then reliable statistics are not always available in certain regimes, where admission would be deemed a failure of their “perfect society.” Today, on World Suicide Prevention Day, the World Health Organisation has reported that 800,000 people die by suicide each year, which has been calculated to be approximately one person every 40 seconds. This staggering statistic would fill most people with dismay…

Sadly, most of us know at least one person who has been affected by the death in this way, of someone they love. For the Christian it is a reminder to use opportunities to reach out to those around us. Sometimes we pass someone on the street and the face we meet may not always portray what that individual is going through. Often, perhaps daily, we meet and work with people who are harbouring despairing thoughts that we nothing about.

I read a true story some time ago, and although I cannot find that story right now for research purposes, I feel that I should quote what I remember of it here. A Christian evangelist and his wife were wearily going from door to door on a wet evening and eventually the husband said that perhaps they “should call it a night” and go home. Suddenly his wife felt compelled to visit just one more door in the drab block of flats. So they turned and rang that doorbell but there was no reply; again they rang and there was still no reply… and then a third time. At last a weary soul dragged herself to that door – a soul who had been at the very point of taking her own life. To cut a long story short that lady was shown love, compassion and understanding by the couple who were overjoyed when she came to saving faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. From loneliness and despair, she came to know a new life and a community of believers who genuinely cared for her.

We live in a world where an elderly person may lie dead for weeks on end, without their neighbours even investigating their whereabouts. But the Lord Jesus Christ “seeth every precious thing.” (Job 28v10) He looks down upon this earth with the same compassion for souls that He had when He walked upon it over 2000 years ago. There are souls in physical and mental pain today; souls who would be happy for the friendly touch of someone who deeply cares for them. It is true that even when we know the Lord we can sometimes feel despondent too and yes, those feelings can be complex – but for those who know and follow Him, we have access to a joy which cannot be found in the things of this world, none of which can lift the clouds of despair. “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.” (John 14v27)

It is surely His will that we share these good things sensitively with those for whom Jesus died to save. “Freely ye have received, freely give.” (Matthew 10v28) He will lead and guide us by His Spirit, just as He guided the evangelist couple to try just one more door – the most fruitful door of the night.

 

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The Little Messenger – A True Story

February 21, 2015

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I was challenged by the following true story, in tract form, which was kindly sent to me recently by a lady in County Fermanagh. It reminds me that God’s Word will not return unto Him void and that His will is for us to distribute that Word to needy souls in our own communities and wherever we travel. This little tract has an important message for both Christian and non-Christian…

On Sunday afternoons the Pastor and his eleven-year old son would go out to hand out Gospel tracts. This particular Sunday it was very cold outside and pouring down rain. The young lad bundled up in his warmest clothes said, “Father, I’m ready.” His father replied, “Ready for what?” “It is time to gather our tracts together and go out.” His father responded by saying, “Son, it is a very cold day and raining!” The lad gave a very surprised look, saying, “But Father, are not people still going to hell, even though it is raining?” “Son, we cannot go out in this weather.” Despondently the boy asked, “May I go please?” His father hesitated for a moment and then said, “Son, you may go, here are some tracts, but do be careful son.” And with that he was off and out into the rain.” The eleven year-old boy walked the streets of the town, going from door to door, handing to all he met, a Gospel tract. Two hours later he was soaked, bone-chilled, and down to his very last tract. He stopped on the street corner and looked for someone to whom he could pass on this very last one, but the streets were totally deserted. He then turned toward the first home he saw, went up to the front door and rang the bell. Nobody answered. He rang it again and again but still no answer. He waited and still no answer. Finally he turned to leave but something stopped him. Again he turned to face the door, ring the bell, and knock loudly on the door. He waited, something holding him there at the front door. He rang once again and this time the door slowly opened. Standing in the doorway was a very sad-looking elderly lady. She asked softly, “What can I do for you, son?” With radiant eyes and a smile that lit up her world, the little boy said, “Ma’am, I’m sorry if I disturbed you, but I just want to tell you that God really does love you and I am come to give you this my very last Gospel tract which tells you all about Jesus, His great sacrifice and love. With that he handed her his last tract and turned to leave. She called out to him as he departed – “Thank you son and may God bless you.” The following Sunday morning the Pastor and father was in the pulpit. As the service began, he asked, “Does anybody have a testimony they would like to give?” Quietly and slowly in the back row an elderly lady stood up. As she began to speak a look of glorious radiance was upon her face. She said, “No one in this meeting knows me. I’ve never been here before. You see, before last Sunday I was not a believer. My husband passed away some time ago, leaving me totally alone in this world. Last Sunday being a particularly cold and rainy day, it was even colder in my heart, for I had come to the end of all hope – I could no longer go on. I had no desire or will to live. So, I took a rope and a chair and ascended the stairway into the attic. I fastened the rope securely to a rafter in the roof, then stood upon the chair ad fastened the other end of the rope around my neck. Standing upon that chair, so lonely and miserable, I was about to leap off when suddenly the loud ringing of my doorbell downstairs startled me. I thought, I’ll wait a minute and whoever it is will go away. I waited and waited but the ringing of the doorbell seemed to get louder and more insistent. Then the person ringing the doorbell began also to knock loudly. I thought to myself, who on earth can that be? Nobody rings my bell or comes now to see me. I loosened the rope from my neck and headed for the front door as the bell rang louder and louder. When I opened the door and looked, I could hardly believe my eyes. For there was the most radiant and angelic-faced wee lad that I had ever seen. His smile, oh I could never describe it to you! And the words that came from his mouth, caused my heart that had so long been dead, to leap for life, for he said, “Ma’am, I just came to tell you that God really does love you!” Then he gave me this Gospel tract that I now hold in my hand and the angel-boy disappeared out into the cold and rain. I closed the door and read slowly every word of this tract. I then went up to my attic to take down that rope and chair. I would not be needing them anymore, for you see, I believed and became a happy child of God. Since the address of your place was on the back of this tract, I have come to personally say ‘thank-you’ to God, for his little messenger came in ‘just the nick of time’ and by so doing, spared my soul from an eternity in hell of separation from God.” By this time there were now no dry eyes, and shouts of praise and thanksgiving resounded to the very rafters of the building. Pastor-dad descended from the pulpit to the front seat where the little messenger was seated. He took his son into his arms and sobbed. Probably this universe had never seen a father that was more filled with love and thankfulness for his son…. except for One. That Father allowed His Son to go into a cold and dark world. He even sent Him into the world. He received back this Son with joy unspeakable, as all heaven shouted praises and honour to God. The Father seated His own beloved Son on His throne far above every principality and power and every name that is named. Jesus Christ is Son of God and Saviour of the world! He is God the Saviour. There may be someone who is reading this who is also going through a dark, cold and lonely time in his or her soul. You may even be a Christian, for Christians are not without problems, or you may not even know the Lord Jesus Christ as your own Saviour. Whatever the case and whatever the problem or situation or how dark it all may seem, I want you to know that I just came to tell you that God really does love you. He really does! He sent His Son to suffer, die and bear Himself the just punishment for the sins of the ungodly. Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you shall be saved. “How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?”(Romans 10v14) © Christian Book Room, P.O. Box 81, Kent Town, S.A. 5071, Australia.

Suicide: A Worrying Trend in Ireland

December 31, 2011

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…

November’s Doom and Gloom and Ireland’s Economic Disasters – but “Look Up!”

November 25, 2010

November can be a bleak month when lengthening shadows cast a gloom on the cold earth and autumn’s gold is facing certain death. I took a walk today away from the things that threaten to burden me – and to be alone with the Lord. Usually nature ‘lifts me’ but today it didn’t. The trees are almost skeletal now and yesterday I had discovered a young pigeon which had been shot and seriously injured. It sat alone, shaking in the cold hard furrows of the field; I knew that it was so seriously injured, that there was nothing I could do for it and so I left it there, wishing that somehow it would recover. ‘Why does mankind feel the need to kill everything?’ I had asked myself. Today I learned that the pigeon had been cruelly killed and I thought about the wonderful truth that God is aware of even a sparrow falling to the ground. (Matthew 10v29) As I listened to more news on the radio about economic doom and gloom here in Ireland, I also thought about what an ugly world we live in, with corruption at every level. Surely the weak and the vulnerable are cruelly exploited? In the middle of the recent gloom I received a call from someone, telling me that their neighbour had attempted suicide…

Then tonight I saw a great beautiful amber moon rise above the dark shadowy fields and I reminded myself that the sun is always up there too – even on the darkest, most depressing days of winter! With this in mind I suddenly remembered a little poem that I had written some years ago now, based on my own feelings of despondency at the time Furthermore, I also remembered my recent reading in Genesis… “And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness.” (Genesis 1v4)

That “God divided the light from the darkness” is truly significant and a recurring theme throughout scripture. “This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.” (1John 1v5) Thank God for “the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not. He came unto his own, and his own received him not. But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.” (John 1v9-13) Praise God for His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, who has the power to lift us out of any situation to new heights of joy in Him! If our happiness is solely dependant upon the material things of this life – we will be so miserable. Yes, it is possible to feel despondent on occasions but for those who know the Lord (and I tell myself this too) our eyes should look above and beyond the darkest night, for we have a sure light “that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts:” (2Peter 1v19)

 

Look Up! 

When you are despondent

Do not dwell upon the loss,

Look ever unto Jesus

And cling to the cross.

When all around

Seems bleak as darkest night –

Look beyond the clouds

For that Eternal Light.

This world’s pain and glory

Will soon pass away,

From the black of midnight 

To the dawn of Heaven’s Day,

And though you are oppressed

By sin on every side,

Look upon that face of Love,

For His grace will provide.

 

                                                                                                                 Elizabeth Burke