Responding to Grayson Murray’s suicide

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Responding to Grayson Murray’s suicide

Three biblical reasons to hope in God

May 28, 2024 -

Grayson Murray holds the trophy after winning the Sony Open golf event, Sunday, Jan. 14, 2024, at Waialae Country Club in Honolulu. (AP Photo/Matt York)

Grayson Murray holds the trophy after winning the Sony Open golf event, Sunday, Jan. 14, 2024, at Waialae Country Club in Honolulu. (AP Photo/Matt York)

Grayson Murray holds the trophy after winning the Sony Open golf event, Sunday, Jan. 14, 2024, at Waialae Country Club in Honolulu. (AP Photo/Matt York)

Note: Today’s Daily Article contains references to suicide. If you are experiencing a mental health crisis, please call the national suicide and crisis lifeline in the US at 988 or visit their website at 988lifeline.org.

Grayson Murray won two tournaments on the PGA Tour, most recently at the Sony Open in Hawaii last January. He said then that he had been sober since early 2023 after years of struggling with alcohol, adding: “I have a beautiful fiancée. I have beautiful parents. . . . Everyone in my life right now who is close to me who has been through the struggles with me, it’s all a team effort.”

Grayson had been open about his battles with mental health issues, admitting that he had considered suicide at times. He even worked with PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan to make the tour more helpful to players who are undergoing mental health struggles and was appointed to the sixteen-member Player Advisory Council.

He was especially grateful for the difference his Christian faith made in his life. In an interview earlier this year, he said, “Jesus Christ is first and foremost. Without him, none of this would be possible. And he’s just given me a platform to write a new story. To write my own story. And I hope that everyone at home watching can get a little inspiration from me.” He added, “If I just help one person, that’s all it takes.”

Then came the shocking news last Saturday that Grayson had passed away at the age of thirty. The next day, his parents stated he had died by suicide.

“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”

As a cultural apologist and theologian, I am not qualified to offer medical advice or professional counseling to those suffering from anxiety or depression, though I can suggest biblical insights on these painful issues. For an extensive discussion, please see my website article, “What Does the Bible Say About Suicide,” as well as other mental health resources on our website.

Today I want to note that some of the greatest heroes of Scripture faced discouragement and depression. For example:

  • Job was described by God’s word as “blameless and upright, one who feared God and turned away from evil” (Job 1:1), but after losing his family and his health, he “opened his mouth and cursed the day of his birth” (Job 3:1).
  • The prophet Elijah was used by God to defeat the prophets of Baal through a spectacular miracle (1 Kings 18). But then, after his life was threatened by wicked Queen Jezebel, he felt so lonely and discouraged (1 Kings 19:10) that he prayed, “It is enough; now, O Lᴏʀᴅ, take away my life” (v. 4).
  • Paul was given such glorious revelations by God that they “cannot be told” (2 Corinthians 12:4), then he was afflicted by a “thorn in the flesh” that was so grievous, he pled three times with God “that it should leave me” (v. 8). However, God did not end his suffering.
  • Jesus admitted to his friends in the Garden of Gethsemane, “My soul is very sorrowful, even to death” (Matthew 26:38) and prayed three times for his Father to “let this cup pass from me” (v. 39).
  • On the cross, he cried out in agony, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46).

And yet,

  • Job later testified, “Though he slay me, I will hope in him” (Job 13:15).
  • Elijah heard the “low whisper” of God and returned to his prophetic ministry (1 Kings 19:12, 19).
  • Paul heard the Lord say, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:9) and could testify, “I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong” (v. 10).
  • Jesus turned in the Garden from his pain to his Father, praying, “Not as I will, but as you will” (Matthew 26:39).
  • On the cross, his last words were, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit!” (Luke 23:46).

“The Lᴏʀᴅ is near to the brokenhearted”

What are these stories to teach us today?

One: Discouragement and depression are part of living in our fallen world.

Those who trust in God are no more exempt from suffering than we are from the law of gravity or the prevalence of natural disasters. In fact, Jesus told us clearly, “In this world you will have tribulation” (John 16:33).

Two: It is always too soon to give up on God.

Suffering does not mean that God does not love us. To the contrary, “The Lᴏʀᴅ is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit” (Psalm 34:18).

Three: Suffering invites us to trust God more deeply than ever before.

When we come to the end of ourselves, we can find our Father’s strength and peace by “casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you” (1 Peter 5:7). He invites us to “draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:16).

Theologian R. C. Sproul was right:

“It is one thing to believe in God; it is quite another to believe God.”

Which is true for you today?

Tuesday news to know:

Quote for the day:

“No one was ever called by God to greater suffering than God’s only begotten Son.” —R. C. Sproul

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