Hope in the Face of Depression and Suicide

Hearing the word “suicide” in relation to a name I recognize is like a sucker punch to the gut. Last week two well-known individuals lost their battles to depression and chose to end their own lives. Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain were two inspirational people, each beautifully made in the image of God, whose deaths have left countless people reeling. Their suicides are a sobering reminder that we can have fame, beauty, and money; we can create beautiful things that bless and inspire others or travel the world and celebrate diversity and culture. But in the end find none of these compensate for our inner suffering or sooth the ache in our hearts for purpose. None of these bring freedom from the depression that grips so many of us.

My heart breaks for the people I knew who faced such despair ending their lives seemed to be the only way forward. Hearing of Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain’s suicides is like scratching that wound raw again. There are many things people say about suicide, but in my opinion, it is the last, terrified act of a soul in immeasurable pain. Is there hope for those struggling with this level of inner torment? There are suggestions being passed around, most of them helpful in theory, but the reality is, when one is in that place, it’s difficult to do anything but survive. Even more, depression and thoughts of suicide can paralyze our mouths, making it nearly impossible to voice the anguish in our souls. I know, because I’ve been there. But today I stand in the light on the other side and I cannot keep silent about the hope I found. It kept me going in my darkest moments and has brought deep healing to my heart, transforming my life and setting my mind free to experience joy again.

That hope is the saving power of a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. You see, the reason our souls cannot bear the pain of this world is because we were never made to. We are spirit beings designed to live in relationship with a spirit God who enables us to face the darkest realities of life and brings tangible restoration to our most broken places. This kind of healing is not a religious platitude or 7-step self-help program. Rather, it is a dynamic, personal intervention by an all-knowing God who understands our deepest wounds and wants to reach out in love to provide complete healing and renewal. For me this began by crying out to God for help. I read the hope-filled words of Jesus recorded from his time on earth, like those found in the Gospel of Matthew. Then God began sending me exactly what my parched soul needed: friends who love me unconditionally, books that revealed my heart wounds and how they’d led to my depression and harmful thought patterns – then what steps I needed to take to heal from these, songs that lifted my spirit, and even the difficult to describe awareness of Christ’s comforting presence with me. I am a different person than I was a year ago and I owe it all to Jesus. Without him I wouldn’t be here today.

Jesus is inviting everyone to this level of hope and healing. He brings purpose to this life and assurance of a beautiful afterlife. He is capable of healing our darkest depression and guiding us to an abundant life of wellness and vitality. He is a loving God who offers a way of salvation from the wrongs we have committed and those that have been committed against us. And it all begins by crying out to him for help.

For those who may not be struggling with depression, but are left breathless in the wake of your loved one's suicide, there's hope for you too. I am convinced the most bitter loss is that of a loved one taking their own life. But Jesus is offering to carry that unbearable burden of grief and restore your soul. He's able to give you purpose again when your life may now feel meaningless. He is gentle and strong, and knows well the path to healing.

There is hope from depression and thoughts of suicide. There is healing in the aftermath of suicide. And that hope and healing is found in the transformational power of a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

“Come to me, all who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 
Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, 
and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” 
(Matthew 11:28-30)