Nena Arias | June 11, 2018
The act of suicide has come to the forefront these days as two high profile celebrities decided to take their own lives by hanging. Fashion icon Kate Spade and celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain, two people who seemed to have very privileged lives and should have been very happy, by the world’s standards, but instead decided to end it all.
Both left loved ones behind who no doubt are devastated by this tragedy and perhaps will be for a long time. They may even blame themselves and will certainly ask over and over again, “why didn’t we see it coming, what did we miss?”
New federal data was released showing that suicide rates have been increasing for years in almost every state and across demographic lines.
The death by suicide of a well-known person, causes people to think about this act, but as we know, suicide is nothing new and it is reported that in the last twenty years the suicide rate in the U.S. has increased by 25 percent from 1996 to 2016 according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The number is staggering because nearly 45,000 Americans, 10 years and older, killed themselves in 2016 alone. It is also reported that suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in this country.
For the most part, poor mental health is being blamed and no doubt that is part of it. But the CDC reports that fifty-four percent of decedents in 27 states in 2015 did not have a known mental health condition. Other causes include relationship problems/loss (45.1% versus 39.6%), life stressors (50.5% versus 47.2%), and recent/impending crises (32.9% versus 26.0%), but these circumstances were common across groups.
Clearly there is something else besides mental health challenges at work in America that is causing this rise in suicide. There is more to it that is much deeper because humans are not just a body and a mind, we also have a spirit, which is the deepest part of any human being; it is who we truly are. If the spirit is neglected and not healthy, which it can only be nourished by God’s spirit, it can very easily cause a person to despair and give up on life. We were not made to live life alone, but rather to live totally depending on the only source that can give us the wisdom, understanding and strength to carry on in life successfully, whether we reach notoriety or not.
We are all building a worldview. In other words, it is the lens and filter with which we see all of life and interpret all things. The worldview we have adopted influences the way we live, whether we know it or not. Our decision-making is run through this filter. Our minds and emotions are determined by what is in our innermost part. We first exhaust the resources of what is in our mind and emotions. If that isn’t enough we dig deeper into our spirit. But if it has not been nurtured and sustained by the Word and the Spirit of God, which is the only way to have a healthy spirit, people come up empty handed and begin to spin in life until they spin out of control. If our filter cannot make sense of life and the world, despair, frustration and hopelessness set in and take over. If God is not real to the individual, that person has no real sustaining and inexhaustible source of strength that will last for a lifetime and give true hope for the afterlife. Everything in life then becomes unsatisfactory because it doesn’t fulfill the deepest longings.
Jesus told us how to have a fruitful and satisfying life: “I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.” (John 15:5)
Once a person realizes that God, the Almighty, Creator of the universe and sustainer of all things loves them, satisfaction and a true purpose for life is experienced that nothing else can supersede. God does not want to see us fail – He sets us up for true success, giving us talents, gifts and abilities and opportunities to do something meaningful with our lives.
He has promised to walk and strengthen us through the pain and suffering, which are necessary to help us develop a strong and lasting character that will help us navigate through the stormy waters of life and carry us to bigger and better things.
God wants us to experience a beautiful life that is not possible without him, which is why even people who reach celebrity status are not fulfilled and give up without calling out to him in their time of need. Once we are born-again into God’s kind of life, all things will make sense and become meaningful. Family, relationships, friendships – each will bring out the best in us, and many times, the more challenging the more those experiences will enrich us. God is more than able to raise us up to the higher heights of a truly meaningful life that we long for, with or without wealth, fame or fortune. We will have a true and lasting purpose bigger than ourselves to fulfill our God-given design and be graduated, in God’s time not ours, to an everlasting and perfect life that begins right here on earth.
God will never give up on us. He is there for you whenever you call. Just like the man who survived jumping off the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco and regretted it the moment he jumped. He cried out to God and said, “I don’t want to die, I’m sorry.” It is very rare for anyone to survive such a jump. Miraculously, God sent a sea lion to buoy him up until help arrived. That is how much God love us all and is willing to see us through our challenges no matter how hard they may be. Always look to him for your source of strength, knowledge and wisdom to make it through.“It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in man.” Psalm 118:8