“The platinum-winning singer had a complicated personal life, marked by a history of substance abuse, suicide attempts, family disputes and tragedy. Both her children were removed from her care this month while she was ordered to undergo rehabilitation. She was discharged last week for outpatient treatment, but her sons remained in foster care, said the BBC.”
It is tragic to hear that even someone with so much talent and success didn’t feel like her life was worth living, but it is absolutely true that money and success cannot buy you happiness or satisfaction with your life. Those with so much going for them are sometimes very tortured souls with deep pain in their hearts.
So many people these days are surrendering to their troubles and committing suicide. Among our returning warriors in the services, suicide is at epidemic levels. Military leaders don’t seem to know how to deal with the situation, so they are grabbing at some strange strategies that are touted by the “experts” as being efficacious in solving the problem. Unfortunately, these strategies are a band-aid to a sucking chest wound. I’ve researched these programs and they amount to nothing but pop psychology, another version of the old claim that you can re-imagine your world if you are unhappy with it. Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with a positive outlook, but this belief in positive thinking has limits when it runs smack into the brick wall of hard reality. This re-imaging strategy has been around probably since the beginning of mankind’s presence on this planet. People keep reviving it, repackaging it, and offering it up as a solution to all evils, a veritable panacea, a cure-all for every ill.
The Japanese poet Kobayashi Issa wrote a poem about this re-imaging of the world and about its serious limitations. He had been to his Zen Buddhist teacher several times seeking wisdom in helping him to deal with his great pain in the deaths of his family members. Each time the teacher told Issa that he shouldn’t fret over his troubles because all things in this life are an illusion. But when Issa returned to his home and realized that he still felt real pain about his tragedies, then he knew that the teacher’s philosophy was no real solution for facing life’s tragedies. In a poem by the title “A World of Dew,” he wrote:
The world of dew is, yes,
a world of dew,
but even so
The uncertain ending of the poem reflects his skepticism about the Buddhist philosophy of his teacher and also, once we know the story behind the poem, we realize that the last line reveals his deep dissatisfaction.
Life can be very tragic as it was for Issa. For most people, life is filled with pain. There are no easy solutions to our problems, but there is one sure place to find solutions, and that is with God. Only He will truly understand our pain and our burdens when we lay them at His feet in prayer. Only He has the spiritual power which will give us strength to go on and to live through these pains. Moreover, only He can fill us with the peace that passes all understanding. It would be easy to blame God although God is not at fault. In this sin-fallen world, evil is rampant, and Satan is very active. So the very fact that we exist day-by-day without being consumed by all this evil is proof enough that He already intervenes to protect us from worse tragedies. In Lamentations 3:22, we are told: “Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed,/ Because His compassions fail not.”
It is very easy in the midst of all these troubles to think about suicide, thinking of that act as an easy way out. I know that I have been there. During the worst periods of my PTSD in the years after Iraq, I thought about suicide and wished for death every single day. Now that I am past those painful years, I still feel pain occasionally when something happens to reopen the wounds on my heart and soul, but I rarely think of suicide, and when I do, I usually reject the thought right away. During the really hard years, the one thought that kept me going was that I could not leave pain behind me. So many people become blind to reality and the feelings of others and mistakenly think that no one cares. But I can guarantee you, in the aftermath of a suicide, that people still living will feel pain at this death. Sometimes people you don’t even know very well are affected negatively by the suicide. It is not an easy solution, and it is not a good solution.
If you are living with pain, I pray that you would have the strength and courage to fight back or to withstand the pain. I also pray that you would seek Jesus out in prayer and that you will allow Him to give you His Perfect Peace to fill your heart so that you can bear the pain. Above all, I pray that you will not give in to your pains and attempt suicide because you will leave behind tremendous suffering by such an action.