Suicide and “The Dance”

by: Larry Davies | May 15, 2015

And I, I’m glad I didn’t know

The way it all would end

The way it all would go.

Our lives are better left to chance

I could have missed the pain

But I’d have had to miss the dance.

I enjoy listening to the Garth Brooks song, “The Dance,” but years ago something happened to give the lyrics new meaning as “The Dance” became part of a story of human tragedy and courage.

In 2013, 41,149 suicides were reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, making suicide the 10th leading cause of death for Americans. In that year, someone died by suicide every 12.8 minutes. Multiply that figure by at least two if you add suicides reported as accidental deaths. Multiply by 12 if you consider those who attempt suicide or self-harm. If suicide was a disease, it would be an epidemic. The emotional impact of suicide on families and friends is devastating.

And I, I’m glad I didn’t know

The way it all would end

The way it all would go.

“I’m going to die!” were the first words of a young man, barely thirty who met me at church. He had just been told by doctors about a rare form of cancer along with other medical complications that would make it impossible for him to survive more than a year.

I didn’t know what to say? What could I say? What mere words could possibly ease the pain and suffering this young man faced? For a while there was only silence and soft weeping.

But, what he said next sent a cold chill down my spine. “I don’t know if I can face what is going to happen over the next few months. Maybe I should just end it all now!”

“Maybe I should end it now?” Was he serious? Was he just expressing frustration?

Suppose he was considering suicide? Would it be so bad to allow him and others to prematurely end a life of suffering? Is suicide such a bad option?

I guess we could have discussed the issue but a certain young man crying in a small church did not want to hear a discussion. He wanted honest answers on how to face an extraordinary tragedy.

Isaiah wrote: “If I walk in darkness without one ray of light–” Is that what this young man felt: Darkness without a single ray of light anywhere?

Some would see this as a Biblical signal to end it all, but read the rest of the verse: “If I walk in darkness without one ray of light, let me trust the Lord, let me rely upon God.” (Isaiah 50:10) Far from giving up, Isaiah is implying this is the very time to place our lives totally in the omnipotent hands of God.

Suicide is never a good option because the act of committing suicide is the ultimate denial of our faith. God can forgive anything, even suicide but there is another way.

Our lives are better left to chance

I could have missed the pain

But I’d have had to miss the dance.

What happened next to the young man contemplating suicide demonstrates how God can work miracles in the midst of misfortune as he rediscovered his courage and learned to fully trust and rely upon God.

• He put his affairs in order, took a vacation and spent time with his family.

• The rest of the family pulled together to surround him in the midst of the crisis.

• The church and community provided numerous gestures of support and love.

• He came to know God, to really know God as few of us do.

A dying man changed and as he changed, his courage became a witness for the family and for all of us.

One very special Sunday morning, this same young man and seven other members of his family came forward to be baptized. The final months of his life became a testimony of courage and faith. At the Baptism, he mentioned, “The Dance.”

And I, I’m glad I didn’t know

The way it all would end

The way it all would go.

Our lives are better left to chance

I could have missed the pain

But I’d have had to miss the dance.

His final weeks of life moved from occasional fear to a quiet acceptance and trust. The funeral service ended with everyone bowing their heads and listening to “The Dance.” The words still burn in my heart:

“I could have missed the pain, but I’d have had to miss the dance.”

“I could have missed the pain, but I’d have had to miss the dance.” Remember God’s promise in the midst of tragedy and suffering: “Trust in the Lord: Rely upon God!”

Next week: Suicide is a serious problem that impacts nearly everyone at one time or another. How can we find ways to address the issue openly? One way is to be willing to share our stories.

Are you considering suicide? Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at: 1 (800) 273-8255. They are open 24 hours, 7 days a week. On the web: www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org

Do you need prayer? Go to our website: www.SowingSeedsofFaith.com. Your prayer requests will be distributed to prayer partners all over the world. You can also become a prayer partner and pray for others.

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