Statistics Canada reports that in 2017, 4,157 people ended their lives by suicide. As heartbreaking as this number may be, even more devastating is the knowledge that for those who succumbed to death at their own hand, there are many more who attempted suicide and were unsuccessful in their efforts. Today, suicide is the 9th leading cause of death in Canada, standing in line behind Alzheimer’s and marginally ahead of liver disease.
In the small community of Saint John, New Brunswick this past week, three people in the prime of their youth ended their own lives. One of these tragic deaths occurred when a young man chose to jump from an atrium at a popular area shopping mall, while stunned onlookers watched, horrified. There is no question that many people are suffering, lacking the strength and will to live. When hope is lost, where can those who are hurting turn for the fortitude to continue?
In John 10:10, the Bible teaches that, “The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.”
The devil, described in this verse as a thief, is the author of evil thoughts. His intention is to rob believers of their hope and joy and to render them ineffective for God’s service. Because he can lay no claim to those who belong to Christ, he instead applies his focus to instilling fear, discouragement, guilt, and feelings of low self-esteem and hopelessness into them. If he can get a Christian to believe that he is too great a sinner to be worthy of the love of his family, friends, and a holy God, then he has been successful in keeping that person from experiencing the true depths of the forgiveness and unconditional love that Christ freely offers. Make no mistake, the devil is a formidable enemy, and he is on a mission: to steal, to kill, and to destroy.
Jesus came for us to enjoy a life of abundant joy. When we allow our emotions to convince us we are unworthy of God’s love or that life is not worth living, we rob ourselves of the blessings God wants to richly bestow upon us. Our focus is critical. Our troubles, though often a heavy burden, will not last forever. Suffering is only temporary, and God has promised to see us through the darkness to brighter days ahead.
Isaiah 41:14 expresses this truth:
“Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.”
Even in the midst of our darkest thoughts, God is with us. Though times of deep discouragement come when hope seems like a distant impossibility, God promises to give us the strength that we need to weather the storm. When we lack the fortitude to stand on our own, God upholds us through the power of His hand and His Word. God’s promises are true and give us a record that He is a loving Creator who always honours that which He has committed to do. Though we struggle, our pain does not last forever. We have the hope of a loving God who stands beside us and gives us the strength we need to face each day with the knowledge that our sorrows have an expiration date. What we are enduring today will not last forever.
Perhaps one of the most powerful promises for those who have lost all hope is found in Psalm 34:18-19:
“The Lord is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit.
Many are the afflictions of the righteous: but the Lord delivereth him out of them all.”
When we are at our lowest point, God is with us to provide the comfort and help that we need. Though affliction comes, God has promised to deliver us from our woes. When we are most broken, God is the most near. We do not cry or suffer alone. Our Saviour stands beside us as a constant to remind us that though today may seem insurmountable; a better day is coming.
Psalm 55:22 tells us to “Cast thy burden upon the Lord, and he shall sustain thee: he shall never suffer the righteous to be moved.”
We don’t have to carry our burdens alone. God intends for us to share our hearts with Him, so that He can shoulder the load and give us that which we need for daily sustenance. The devil wants us to feel that God has forsaken us and will not fulfill His promises. God wants to remind us that He is always with us and that our struggles our only temporary. Our Heavenly Father can and will provide deliverance and healing.
Though the troubles of this life threaten to overwhelm us, God stands beside us in the midst of the storm to provide the stability we need and the hope of a better tomorrow.
If you are struggling with feeling there is no hope for your life, contact Anchor of Hope Ministries to learn more about how you can have the blessed hope through Jesus Christ, our Lord.