Years ago, I received an email through our Sowing Seeds Prayer Ministry: “Please pray. I know God is my Savior. I know nothing is impossible without Him but I am overwhelmed and knowing just isn’t enough right now. I know suicide is a sin but I hope that God will know my heart and forgive me.”
Over 41,000 suicides were reported in 2013, 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 listed as a disease, it would be considered an epidemic.
The email continued: “I hold the pill bottle in my hand knowing it is wrong but not having the strength or courage to live. I have a good husband and a son who needs me but right now that isn’t enough. I just want to die and go home to my Savior. Please pray God will forgive me and take me home.”
The name is changed but the email is genuine. The second email came minutes later: “I know I just sent in a prayer request but I am scared. I am not afraid to die. I am afraid to live!”
I wrote back describing a suicide within my own family and how much we were all devastated by the tragedy. Janice replied: “I know the devastation I will leave behind. I know my child, husband and friends may never forgive me. I just can’t put into words the pain inside: Both emotional and physical.”
“But I am just so tired. I cannot find the hope that once gave me the will to trust in God. To really believe he will take care of me. My life and self-esteem are scattered in pieces and I cannot find the strength or courage to let God finish what was started. I am tired and alone and I just don’t want to die without knowing people will pray for my husband and child.”
“I have a wonderful counselor who has been with me through these dark nights of my soul. He promises to stay with me until God finishes but I have taken so much and given nothing back. I am so broken. It hurts so deep inside and all hope is buried in darkness. I wrote this poem but I can’t seem to finish it. It describes what it feels like inside:”
It’s in the silence of the night that I hear my heart cry
When I wish the days of life would just pass me by
I don’t know what I’m feeling… just emptiness inside
The place where lies of darkness go to run and hide
It’s a sadness that comes over, a fear of things unknown
I pray to God my Father “Let Your light be shown!”
Yet the darkness all around me, the shadows of the night
Overtake the truths I know in my mind to be right
My intense desire to live… to continue to try
Is now overpowered by a longing to die
Can I trust in You completely to carry me along
Can I believe what You say “In You I am strong”
I’m so afraid to believe that You are standing right there
With Your arms stretched out saying “My child I care!”
That kind of love my empty heart just can’t begin to hold
I’m told that I’m unlovable, broken and cold
I long to wrap my arms around you, climb up upon Your knee
To find the strength within to say that I am free.
Janice went on to write: “I want to finish saying I can give God all of me, give him my life, that I trust Him, that I am worthy of His love but I feel none of these. I just feel dark and empty. I want to take the pills. I’m tired. I want to finish and go home. I don’t understand why this is a battle. Why can’t I just die? It’s like I can’t even do this right. Please help me. Pray for me. Pray with me.”
Janice’s story represents people in your community, at your workplace, in your neighborhood, within your family, feeling unloved and hopeless enough to seriously contemplate taking their own life. What should we do? How can we help? What should you say?
Next week: Answers.
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. If you have a story to share, write me at LarryDavies@PrayWithYou.org.
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.