In the middle of the vast, open landscape called Nebraska we heard the news of a suicide, via our cell. There is no escaping bad news these days. Where once good or ill news waited for one's return home or was waiting at a destination it now barges in, appearing in even the most vacant of places. Protective buffer zones are obsolete.
This was the second suicide I had heard about this summer. The first being a girl who had barely reached the age of being called woman. Sitting at a planked table surrounded by her peers we listened to a pastor wanting to give us some words of "comfort." Depression had been a frequent visitor of this young woman and the young pastor had tried on many occasions to draw her into the "fellowship." She couldn't, however, seem to keep the door locked against her unwanted visitor.
Continuing he said, "Depression is from a dark place and is from the devil. Depression has no place when God is in control." Shocked I glanced at the young man grieving next to me and wondered, "Where is the message of Hope for him?"
Now, speeding down the ribbon highway, I listened to my "pastor" husband call the grieving relative. "What 'comfort' words would he say?" I wondered. After a long period of pastoral listening he said, "I understand. It is at times like these that I go back to Romans 8:38-39 'For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels or rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, not anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus.' That means even depression can't separate us from God's love. Absolutely nothing."
Here was Hope! The conversation ended I asked why that particular response. "Because someone told them today that people who commit suicide don't get into heaven."
Thank you, God for being stronger and able to overcome all that seems hopeless. Because of Your Son, Jesus Christ, we are never, ever separated from Your love. Amen.
As a Christian woman who has come through personal and family tragedies and sorrows, may I lovingly suggest reading: "Mourning into Dancing" by Walter Wangerin and "Where is God When It Hurts?" by Philip Yancey.
Let us love one another compassionately, especially when facing gut-wrenching tragedies. One's gentle presence, hugs, and words of love do more than the dogmatic theology stating that "depression had no place where God is present."
Please read about giants of the faith who served God while battling depression. Sometimes the only thing that seems to separate us from God is the lack of compassison and understanding of believers when it comes to others suffering depression.
As the years pass, I am vividly reminded that God never allows anything to pass through our lives without his purposes, if I allow Him to use it. In my own experience with depression, He has brought encouragement by His Spirit through His Word, friends' wise counsel and the reading of helpful books. Now I find myself meeting others who suffer this agony also and prayerfully, I am given opportuniy to acknowledge their pain and offer to come along side as a friend who understands.
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