If you google “glory” there’s not a word, synonym, noun or verb that would be close to heaven.
Maybe it’s the mystery, the mystery of it all that we can’t quite grasp.
Even when we believe, heaven is our hope.
It is our glory. For me and I pray, you.
It’s our eternity.
A long time ago, I began a support group for people who lost loved ones to their choice of dying, suicide.
The initiation of the group coincided with a piece I was asked to write, a Community betterment series, my choice of a topic and I called it, “The Tragedy of Speculation”.
I had been changed, many times over now, by those who sat around my table recalling the death of someone close.
My piece essentially said “Let’s stop talking about the suicide in a way that’s not helpful. Let’s stop faking our sympathy when we simply want to point fingers and say who missed the signs, how far the person had swayed off course or how the family, the parents must not have been doing what they should have.”
My commentary was a little softer back then; but, the thing is, people want to dissect something they don’t understand in hopes they can be certain “never me”.
Thus, the tragedy of speculation
Suicide, a tragic mystery.
About the same time, I got a phone call.
An older man with gravel in his voice, assertive and impatient it seemed with this task he was tasked to do.
To call me and give his input.
I answered, confirmed I was the author of the article and he announced:
If you want to prevent suicide you need to start telling people if they do that they will go straight to Hell!
A tad but unsettled; but, prepared because of my childhood exposure to preachers spittin’ orders and threats all over the pews,
I replied, calmly, I would never tell someone that because I don’t believe it.
Silence on the other end, I sensed his surprise by my candor.
Several years later, the numbers in our county and our country keep growing.
Could such a declaration change that? Possibly, no, probably not.
Would you tell someone about a sure place called Hell over Heaven and compromise the character grace and mercy of Jesus to save a life?
I’m thinking this is not what God means by salvation.
No, not I.
I wonder what Bourdain thought of God. Kate Spade, as well.
If momentarily in the deep place of a resignation not to go on they simply could no longer sense the wonder.
Much conversation is occurring now about depression, about suicide.
I’m no licensed professional. I’m just a noticer.
And I suppose if my sometimes seemingly naive approach could add anything to the discussion.
I’d say, let’s think empirically.
Let’s come forth for that person from all perspectives, friend, family, faith, medicine, aspirations, accomplishments, addictions recovery and reminders of possibility.
Let’s do better at coming alongside in whatever our way and staying beside.
It’s a battle they most likely are waging war against and became weary with all the shots coming at them from every imaginable direction, internal and external.
Wounds not fully healed, maybe they’d grown tired of the reoccurring reminders.
And depression, a deep hole, maybe it becomes a safe bunker and maybe the choice to surrender, to finally, finally retreat.
This is why I continue.
I continue to try to understand it, suicide.
Why I say faith in God is not the cure for depression or the saver of those suicidal.
What it is is a certain and steadfast complement to healing, to have a reason to live.
“For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.”
Colossians 1:13-14 NIV
To believing new things are possible.
A hopeful complement in this crazy, horrible and often hindered world.
Paul and Timothy told the Colossian believers, you’ve come so far, I know it seems mysterious; but, it is what God created you for, the riches of a glorious mystery.
“To them God chose to make known how great among the Gentiles are the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.”
Colossians 1:27 ESV
The hope of glory.
Most everything about God’s word feels mysterious to me at times.
Like, how I pray and because I believe in Jesus, he intercedes for me.
It’s a mystery to me, a glorious mystery I’ve seen to be true in the simplest and grandest of ways.
A chubby freckle faced little girl grows up and begins to believe God is for her and she prays for opportunities every single day and they come and she continues boldly even when afraid.
Because she believes now, finally that her hope is Christ and He sees her settled, finally surrendered and new things, new things keep springin’ up!
“Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old. Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.”
Isaiah 43:18-19 ESV
I’ll not talk so much about glory with one considering suicide or one trying hard to prevent it.
But, hope, oh I’ll surely tell them of hope.
Lord, help me to never hinder, always to remind of hope!
To use all you’ve given me the opportunity to know and to complement my knowledge with your grace and mercy and my strength only through you, my hope.
Because of mercy, Amen
Our county has a Coalition to Prevent Suicide, yours may as well. We are all concerned about the increase in numbers and continuously increase our efforts.
Visit here: Coalition for Suicide Prevention of Aiken County
Or the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention
Know the signs, intervene and if Hope is a thing for you, a sure and steady God thing, pray with those who are sad and suicidal.