Sunday, January 15, 2012

Change is Inevitable

~Published in the Charleston Gazette, Sunday, January 15, 2012~

According to statistics, more people die in January than any other month. The odds a death that happens in a given year will occur in January are 1 in 10.89 higher than any other month. Moreover, it is also reported that more suicides take place in January.  We wonder why.

Some believe that the elderly, in particular, are able to postpone death until they have enjoyed some experience they have been anticipating, like Christmas or their birthday. After the exciting time has passed, depression often takes over; the person feels helpless, thinks he has no reason to live and gives up.

Suicide is altogether different. Though most of us may get depressed from time to time, we know that suicide is directly counter to the power of life that God has put so strongly into His creation. Everywhere we look we see life growing, even in the most hostile environments. This "survival instinct" is a gift from God. In fact, if He didn't bestow this gift upon His children, there probably would be no life on this planet at all!  Suicide, then, is directly contrary to the will of God. 

Many of the greatest saints and heroes of the Bible faced overwhelming depression and sometimes wrote that they wished they’d never been born. King David, (Psalm 13:2-4), the prophet Jeremiah, (Jeremiah 20:14-18), and Job, (Job 7:15-16) among others, all reached low points where they despaired of their very lives.

Job says, "So that my soul chooseth strangling, and death rather than my life. I loathe it; I would not live always: let me alone; for my days are vanity" (Job 7:15-16).

Yet, each of these men was blessed of God, and persevered through their trials as an example to us. Though they faced great suffering and injustice, they kept their faith in God and His goodness and in so doing, were sustained and led into abundant life.

It’s hard for most of us to understand why one would feel depressed at the onset of a New Year. We see it as a new beginning, another chance to set things right that may not have gone so well in the former year - an opportunity to change our lives for the better.

There is a season for everything. When we see leaves changing color in autumn, then letting go of their branches and falling to the ground, we can be sure that they’ll be replaced by new growth in the springtime. Just as nature changes, we must learn to release the past and welcome the present in whatever form it takes.

Unfortunately, we may occasionally experience a season of doubt, sadness or physical challenge. But remember, it is only a season. There will be a healing season, as well. Healing comes when we meet with God in prayer. Although we may not see the evidence right away, just as spring rains bring relief from the harshness of winter, a healing is taking place.

Change is inevitable. Day turns into night, people come and go in our lives and somewhere between the hellos and good-byes, we learn to be grateful for the blessings God grants us. We discover that perseverance is the rope that ties the soul to the doorpost of Heaven—and we go on living our best lives.

Suicide is an unthinkable alternative!