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Never give up

February 1, 2022 - Mark Turman

© banphote/stock.adobe.com

© banphote/stock.adobe.com

Suicide is the tragedy of all tragedies. It is the pain of all pains for the family and friends of the victim and, of course, for the victim themselves. It is the ending of God’s first gift, earthly life, where we start the path to eternal life with him through Christ Jesus.

All suicide is senseless, and it’s back in the headlines this week with the death of thirty-year-old Cheslie Kryst, Miss USA 2019, a civil attorney and TV personality. 

Ironically, Kryst had done her own video about the importance of mental health and self-care not long ago. You can learn more about her in this Daily Briefing. May God’s great comfort, strength, and hope flood into the lives of her family, friends, and coworkers, and all of us who learn her story.

Mental, emotional, relational, and spiritual health are God’s will for every person. God desires joy and hope and all the fruits of the spirit (Galatians 2:20) to be the daily, increasing inheritance of each person. 

The devil’s agenda is exactly the opposite. Jesus said that the devil comes only to steal, kill, and destroy all that is good, gracious, real, and beautiful in and around us. All of us are in this battle. It is the all-too-real experience for all of us, including those of us in ministry. Christians are not exempt from mental and emotional struggles. The stats back it up. The devil and his darkness pursue us, but “he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world” (1 John 4:4).

Bathsheba’s epitaph

I was reading over Matthew 1 again. This chapter is part of the Ancestry.com of the Bible, presenting the family tree of Jesus. He really became one of us. 

You may recall that the kingly genealogy of Jesus strangely includes the names of five women: Tamar, Rahab, Ruth, Bathsheba, and Mary. In this patriarchal lineage, there are individual and collective messages of God’s presence, grace, and power in the lives and faces of these women. They, like all women, and all people, are of eternal worth and purpose to God.

This time through two facts about Bathsheba pricked my mind. Two things are said about her: 

  1. She was the mother of Solomon, the wisest king of Israel.
  2. She was “the widow of Uriah” (Matthew 1:6). 

I wonder if Bathsheba would have chosen these two statements as her epitaph. 

The overflowing joy of motherhood mixed with the deep complexities of scandal, abuse, power, brokenness, shame, grief, and loss. What was life like for her with Uriah, the faithful soldier, before the world caved in on her? Did the palace of David become her prison? I wonder if Bathsheba might have been suicidal in the darkest moments of her life. 

I hope not. 

Not for her, not for you, not for me.

A traumatic year

I don’t remember the fifth grade. That year I experienced trauma. 

I was severely burned over my whole face. I recovered. 

Then I tore my arm open requiring 100+ stitches. I recovered. 

Then I had my appendix removed at the near-bursting stage. I recovered, or at least I thought I did. I was still wounded emotionally. I was too scared to go back to school one mile from my house. For what seems now like weeks, I hid in the woods until my parents left for work and then went home and hid until they came home. 

At my worst, I scribbled a suicide note on the flap of my backpack and hung it from the ceiling fan in the family den. Fortunately, I had neither the knowledge nor the courage to hurt myself. 

My family realized my desperation and helped me through it. I don’t remember how, but they got me through it. The biggest casualty I have from it today is that I never went back to Little League baseball that I loved in the fourth grade. For some reason, there was no more third base with the Rice Elementary Cougars.

I keep hearing the voice of my friend and ministry partner Jim Denison, “It is always too soon to give up on God.” 

HE is GOOD, HE is REAL, He is LOVE, He is LIFE. HE is HOPE. 

NEVER, NEVER, NEVER forget that! 

If you doubt his presence, remember his cradle. 

When you doubt his love, remember his cross. 

When you doubt his power, remember his empty tomb. 

When you doubt his hope, remember his promise: “I’m coming again, for you!”

Grace and peace,

Dr. Mark Turman

NOTE: If you are having thoughts of suicide, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or click here.

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