Help is always available
Few people initiate conversations about suicide, yet speaking about it can actually help keep others safe.
If you have teens in your orbit, don’t avoid the subject of suicide when it arises. In fact, every parent and grandparent, everyone who has a friend of any age, should familiarize themselves with the warning signals of suicide and steps we can take to help keep another safe. A great local resource is the Suicide Prevention Network in Minden (775-783-1510, http://www.spawareness.org).
Every person must know that they are loved unconditionally, that they have value to someone, and their life has meaning and purpose. These deepest of needs, which we all share, can truly be met by God alone. Psalm 139 unfolds how God knows us and cares for us. Please take the time to read this psalm after or while you read this column.
The first six verses speak of God’s intimate knowledge of us. After considering how God knows us, King David reflects, “ Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain.” (Psalm 139:6). God’s love for us is simply overwhelming. That fact ought to shape our identity. Moreover, we can know we are His child simply by trusting our lives to Jesus, His only Son.
In verses 7-12, David speaks of God’s constant presence. There is nowhere we can go that God is not already there! In the most extreme location we can imagine, “even there Your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast.” (Psalm 139:10) God’s presence in our lives gives us security. Since God cares for us, we also know our lives have great value in His sight.
Next, in verses 13-18, David reflects on how God intricately fashioned each one of us. “For You created my inmost being; You knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise You because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” (Psalm 139:13-14) How important to know that almighty God created us and knows us from our DNA on out! This gives our lives great significance.
So knowing God loves us and that we’re right with Him through faith in Jesus Christ is meant to shape our identity. God’s constant presence provides us security, and His creation of us, in intricate detail, gives us significance.
Knowing God doesn’t eliminate problems, nor even the despair that can cause a person to question the value of their life. But He is available to intervene— and His intimate knowledge to comfort us— in our darkest moments.
Even for those who fall victim to suicide, the manner of their death cannot separate them from God and His love. The apostle Paul wrote, “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:38-39)
Let’s become informed on how to help someone facing suicidal thoughts. Most of all, let’s look to Jesus Christ for the love, value, and significance we all need and seek.
Pastor Don Baumann of Hilltop Community Church is a member of the Carson Valley Minister’s Association.