One of my Sunday school students shared with me this past weekend about her uncle taking his own life. When I heard that I really felt for his family because now they are in a situation where they have to continue through life without the love and support of a husband and a father. I was reading recently from a website called SAVE.org, which has general stats on suicide and depression in the United States, and it was surprising what I read:
“In 2013, there were 41,149 deaths by suicide in the United States. Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the U.S. for all ages. It is the second leading cause of death for 15 – 24 year olds. The suicide rates decreased from 1990-2000 from 12.5 suicides per 100,000 to 10.4 per 100,000. Over the past decade, however, the rate has again increased to 12.1 per 100,000. Every day, approximately 105 Americans die by suicide. There is one death by suicide in the US every 13 minutes. Depression affects 20-25% of Americans ages 18+ in a given year. Suicide takes the lives of over 38,000 Americans every year.”
When I hear of incidents like this and read these facts, I think to myself, what causes this in the first place? What makes a person consider that they should take their own life or that their life is of no value? I feel like the cause could be many different things, such as a lack of fulfillment, purpose, love, or even just brokenness from a significant event. I think whatever may be the problem it can be narrowed down to one root cause: a lack of peace! The following verse comes to mind:
“These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.” | John 16:33
What truly is tribulation? Is it just a stressful event that a person experiences? No, it’s much more than that! This verse sums it up best as the absence of peace, or in other words, the existence of continual discontentment. It is normal for people to go through tough situations in life but what causes depression and suicide is the absence of hope from whatever they may be suffering through. If we think about ourselves as believers, what drives our lives and gives it purpose and meaning? It should be Jesus Christ, because without Him, life would be quite pointless! We can see clearly from the verse that Christ says, “so that in ME you may have peace.”
Peace is not a new concept that people recently started realizing; they understand that they MUST have it in order to have contentment. But what a lot of people fail to realize is that where you find peace is of greater importantace. Some of the most common things people seek to find peace in are alcohol, drugs, friends, careers, relationships, and even family. The problem with all of those things is that they are all flawed; they can only bring temporary happiness and never lasting fulfillment. Drugs and alcohol may give you an immediate high or an altered state of mind but the ultimate result is feelings of guilt and depression.
A certain career may be exciting at the start of a job, but as time goes on you realize that with every pay raise comes more stress and responsibility. At my company most of my managers are on their second or even third marriage just because of the time they have to dedicate to their work. They are the furthest from “happy.”
Family, friends, and relationships will never provide ultimate peace because people are flawed. The only thing you can count on in a person is for them to fail you. This may all sound super depressing just to talk about, but yet we still make the mistake to continually seek peace in these temporary things. We return to these things every time, even after they have failed us, and once again, we are constantly let down and disappointed.
We must understand and realize that we only find peace when we seek Christ and serve Him with our lives. Our Heavenly Father is the only One who is flawless, never lets us down, never lets us go, and will always be there for us. As we read in John 16, He Himself is perfect peace and only when we seek him consistently, we find true contentment! Whatever tribulation you’re going through at the moment, cast your burden on Christ because he cares for YOU!