December 3, 2021

This Is Why Life Is A Choice

I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.  John 10:10b, KJV

When I was a young pastor, I encountered suicide for the first time.  A local mortuary called and asked if someone could conduct a memorial service.  It was a large church I was involved in, and the family really wanted a kind of generic–not very specific–kind of funeral, something which I did not know when I first got the call.

The suicide involved the life of a young woman in her middle 20s who had married a handsome young man from a very good family.  Since there was money in the family and they were both young and in love, I found her suicide a bit of a puzzle.  Assuming that her death had been the result of some kind of emotional illness that I didn’t understand, I asked, “How long has your wife been ill?” I asked the husband.

“Oh, she wasn’t sick at all,” he replied adding rather coldly adding, “She knew exactly what she was doing.”  He explained that they had fallen in love with each other while they were in college, but socially their families were far apart.  She was from a poor family, and he from a wealthy one.  “My folks didn’t want me to marry her, but I did anyway.  They never accepted her,” he said.  Then with a sigh of resignation he quietly said, “It was just more than she could live with.”

I began to learn very quickly what they never taught me in seminary, that suicide is a decision–a choice which people make regardless of the consequences, regardless of its rightness or wrongness.

Are there situations so desperate that people simply cannot live with them any longer–illness, rejection, pain, and depression?  Many believe so.  They are the sad statistics– people who have given up on life.

Sir Harry Lauder could have been one of them.  Lauder was a British comedian, but when his son was killed in World War 1, he was driven into deep depression.  Writing of what he went through, he said, “As I faced that crisis I saw before me three avenues of escape from the awfulness of the tragedy.  First, there was drink.  I could drown my sorrow in alcoholic semi-consciousness.  There was suicide.  I could seek the oblivion of the grave.  And there was God.  I could seek the comfort of the Eternal.  And I sought God and found him.”

Suicide is like saying, “God, this problem is bigger than you; therefore, I have despaired of my life ever being different.”  What many today do not know is that like Sir Harry Lauder, you can find a refuge in this eternal, loving God of the Bible; and He can change your despair and depression.  As so many have done, you can find Him when you search for Him with all your heart.  And when you find God, you find a reason for living and a purpose for existence.

The very purpose for which God made you is lost when you despair of life.  Jesus said so simply, “I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly” (John 10:10b, KJV).

If you–right now–feel the despair of depression or the pain of life, give someone an opportunity to tell you how your life can be different.  Pick up your phone and call a pastor or counselor or text a Christian friend and tell that person exactly how you feel.  Let those troubled feelings flow from your heart.  There is hope, and the greatest tragedy of all is for you to give up when life can be different.  Life is a series of choices. Choose wisely. Choose life!


Resource reading: Psalm 103:1-12