Posts Tagged ‘world suicide prevention day’

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.

 

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…