According to Suicide.org, over one million people die by suicide worldwide each year. On average, one person dies by suicide every 40 seconds somewhere in the world.

Global suicide rates have increased 60% in the past 45 years. As for the United States, 38, 518 were reported in 2011 (the most recent year for which data is available) by the American Suicide Prevention Foundation, making suicide the 10th leading cause of death for Americans. In that year, someone in the country died by suicide every 13.3 minutes.

What causes a person to come to the point of total despair and take his/her life? As I have pondered this in view of a well-known actor and a college president’s son recently committing suicide, the following thoughts have come to mind.

1. No matter what the situation or circumstance of life may be, you must begin with God. Genesis 1:1 has more to say than just referencing creation. When Scripture says, “In the beginning, God,” we are referred to the starting point and conclusion for all discussions, situations, circumstances, and answers of life. Since God is holy (Exodus 15:11; 1 Samuel 2:2; Isaiah 6:3), omniscient (Psalms 139:1-6; 147:5; Isaiah 40:28; 55:9), omnipresent (Job 34:21; Proverbs 15;3; Jeremiah 23:24) , and eternal (Exodus 3:13-14; Psalm 90:1-4; Revelation 1:8), He is the absolute perfect reference point for all of life. If I start with man or my own humanistic thoughts when trying to draw a conclusion, I will always come up with a faulty assumption because man is sinful, imperfect, limited in his knowledge and ever-learning, ubiquitous, and short-lived (Psalm 90:10; Proverbs 3; Romans 3:23; 5:12; Hebrews 9:27). How grateful to know that God is able to make all grace abound in every situation (2 Corinthians 9:8).

2. Never overestimate the condition of man’s heart. I have heard so many people say, “Just follow your heart” when a life-decision needs to be made. Why would you do that? Look at what God says about our heart:

The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it? – Jeremiah 17:9

Brood of vipers! How can you, being evil, speak good things? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. – Matthew 12:34

For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies. These are the things which defile a man, — Matthew 15:19, 20a

Since a man’s heart is deceitful, if he listens to his heart, then self-murder is a possible “escape” for the immense troubles of life. Our heart has been sinful since the fall of man. The only remedy is a personal relationship with Jesus Christ Who has done everything necessary to fulfill the righteousness of God and to cleanse us from sin (Isaiah 53; Romans 5:1-12).

Tomorrow, I’ll continue these thoughts. For the present, make sure God is always your Reference Point for all of life and do not listen to yourself, your heart. Instead, preach the Word to yourself. The Truth always sets you free (John 8:32).

For additional reading: Psalm 42

Laughter Gone

He made thousands and thousands of people laugh.  His quick wit, ability to play many roles, and stand-up comedy endeared him to the world of entertainment.  Sadly, his humor was often crass and ungodly. Today, the laughter is gone.

Robin Williams broke on the entertainment scene as an alien, Mork, in the 1978 TV series, Mork & Mindy with what became a household phrase of “Nanu-nanu.”  I remember my daughters loving his role as the comedic genie in the famous Disney film, Alladin.  He even appeared in the happy tune by Bobby McFarrin, “Don’t Worry, Be Happy.”  As of yesterday, Williams will no longer be making people laugh; he has passed away.  The tragedy of this death is that it is being considered an apparent suicide.  Fox411 reported, “A representative for Williams said in a statement the actor had been battling ‘severe depression of late’.”

No matter what you thought of Robin Williams, death by suicide is oh so sad.  Tragic.  Bewildering.  Selfish. Sinful.  Wrong.

There are many things that I would love to say from a burdened heart, but suffice it to say that we as believers need to realize afresh and anew, we are living in a world of hopeless people!!  For a successful man to take his life when he had everything earthly he would need says that he lacked hope.

Hope is found in the gospel of Jesus Christ! Read the following with an attentive heart:

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. —John 3:16

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.— Jeremiah 29:11

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead—1 Peter 1:3

Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. 3 And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; 4 and perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5 Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us. 6 For when we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. 7 For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die. 8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him. 10 For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. 11 And not only that, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation.—Romans 5:1-11

Hope (assurance, confidence) that is eternal, persevering, faithful, not disappointing, productive, and full of grace is found only in a personal relationship with the risen Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.  He is the foundation, giver and sustainer of hope.  He is hope. A man without Jesus Christ is hopeless . . . forever.

For those of us secure in Christ because of the aforementioned truths of Scripture, we must share the good news of hope to a hopeless world!  We have the Truth that liberates (John 8:32).  Christ in us is the hope of glory, and He resides in us giving us hope for all of our earthly days (Colossians 1:27).

For those of you who are searching for hope in a world of empty happiness, I ask that you read the Scripture passages given in this post and turn to Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior.  Today you can repent which means to turn away from all you have been trusting in to get you to Heaven, and receive Jesus Christ as Your Savior today (Romans 3:23; 6:23; John 3:16; Romans 5:8; 10:9-13).  For the believer, no matter what his circumstances may be, each day is getting better because he is closer to his eternal home, Heaven.  Hope gets brighter each day!

Laughter produced by Robin Williams is gone.  Hope is not.


For further help in finding and understanding this everlasting hope, watch this 11 minute film: The Gospel