Alaska Glacier Calving
Is Suicide The Answer?

    Is suicide the answer?   This is a question that most everyone has to answer at some point in their lives. However, you may feel like at the moment the only singled out to face the question alone.

    When I was in a local junior college majoring in business, I felt like God was calling me into pastoral ministry.  I consulted with my pastor and also with my father who had pastored about what course I should take to fulfill the call.   Their advise was to build myself up physically, mentally, and spiritually through physical exercise, by changing to a denominational college, and then going on to seminary.   I set my course to do as I was instructed.  I worked out on weights and became stronger that nine out of ten men my size.  I pursued my college degree with Bible as my major and Sociology as my minor.  I also took psychology courses as my electives because of my interest in the field.  After about three years, I receive my B.A. and went on to seminary with a major in theology.  Along the way, I also got married and started a family.  In the due course of time, I received my M.Div. from seminary.  As I graduated from seminary, I became the pastor of a small church in Northeast Texas.  The church began to grow and my vision of being a good pastor was becoming a reality.

    However, before long I was confronted with some major difficulties in the church.  The problems brought up some old wounds in the church and some new wounds in me.  The church attendance began to fall.  I began to knot up physically with stomach cramps.  Over a few months, I lost some twenty plus pounds of body weight and strength.  I found it extremely difficult to pastor.  It became difficult to concentrate just to prepare a message to preach.  My wife became extremely defensive in that she doesn't like facing conflicts.  I saw no way out but to resign as pastor of the church and move back to Fort Worth and get away for a while. This we did.

    I thought that I would get back on my feet and get back into ministry shortly.  I got  a job working in a clothing store back that I had during the time that I was in the seminary.  However, instead of things getting better, they got much worse.  I came to the place where I could not even keep the less stressful secular job.  I had to quit work and allow my wife to be the breadwinner.  This made me feel extremely low and helpless.  My father had always been the breadwinner and I felt like a failure.

    I went to my local physician, then to a major medical center, but neither gave me any real answers.  I came to the place where I could not be the proper husband, father, breadwinner, or minister that I wanted to be or that which I believed God would have be to be.  My wife, being a R.N., who often worked with critically ill patients, could not relate to or understand what I was experiencing.  I tried prayer, exercise, diets, various medication, but there seemed to be no answers.  I felt alone, ashamed, frustrated, and angry.  I became so angry at one point that I dented a wall furnace with my bare fist.  On another occasion, I tore up a large thick Sunday newspaper, just in frustration.

    My parents wanted to help, but didn't know what to do.  Since they knew that I enjoyed being in the Colorado mountains, they invited to take me along with them on a trip to Colorado.  I couldn't work, so I went with them.  It was good to get away for a few days, but my problems still existed. One day, we went sightseeing on top of Mesa Verde, a tall table top mountain.  We had parked the car and was near the edge of a cliff of a canyon which was several hundred feet deep.  Suddenly, I was hit with the idea of taking a running leap to jump off the cliff.  The thought was so compelling that it was difficult to resist it.  It seemed a simple way to escape from the physical pain, the failure, the rejection, and the loneliness.  It was only by God's grace that I was able to resist the temptation that day.  Some months later, I completely gave up on fixing the problem myself (gave up on self) and was able to release my life into God's hands.  That was a turning point for my life in many ways.

    I share this very personal true story to say to you that you are not the only one who has had the temptation to end it all.  Furthermore, the Bible gives us stories of great men who have wrestled with thoughts of suicide.  Job, Elijah, and Jonah all encountered suicidal thoughts.  Furthermore, even Paul struggled with the thought of just going home and being in Heaven. "For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.  But if I live in the flesh, this is the fruit of my labour: yet what I shall choose I wot not.  For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better:  Nevertheless to abide in the flesh is more needful for you.  And having this confidence, I know that I shall abide and continue with you all for your furtherance and joy of faith;  That your rejoicing may be more abundant in Jesus Christ for me by my coming to you again" (Philippians 1:21-26).  I agree, in that I am looking forward to spending eternity in heaven.  However, if I had yielded to the temptation almost forty years ago.  I would not seen hundreds of people come to know Jesus as their Lord and Saviour, neither would you be reading this article of encouragement today.  Furthermore, I would have missed the families of my daughters and my grandchildren.  It is NEVER God's will that one commit suicide!  God ALWAYS has a better plan for your life!  Jesus said, "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" (John 10:10).

Additional: Answers / Suicidal Thoughts

The Bible On Suicide