As always I offer the caveat that the views expressed in my blog posts relate to my own experience and thoughts. I do not dare try to make a generalization as I believe our individual experiences, even with general phenomena, is as unique as we each are to each other. There are so many variables to factor in: personality, life experience, culture, etc. I do not claim to understand this phenomena or be able to explain it. I can merely shed some light on a single experience I had. Although I do believe with all my heart that suicide is a form of spiritual warfare a product of the fall and a tool of the enemy.
A friend confided in me, recently, as follows:
“I have come to terms with not dying, but am struggling with accepting and embracing life.”
“I’m in the in between”, she continued. “Not quite as scary as the extreme jumping point of attempting suicide, but not to a place where I find a continued existence to be desirable. I just have to get to a place where I actually want to be alive rather than a place where I have basically surrendered to the fact that I’m not going to die. I’m not saying any of this to alarm you. We have a ton of safety nets in place in case I feel unsafe”.
My response to her was as follows: “Perhaps the most alarming thing is that I understand. I understand feeling that living is harder than death.”
This conversation brought back some memories.
Darkness — demons closing in. A feeling of helplessness and hopelessness in the wake of their affront. No light. Scary, consuming, overwhelming darkness. The feeling of being lost and alone. How do you explain the darkness to someone that can’t see it. How do you explain the feeling of terror to someone that can’t feel its weight? How do you explain that death seems inviting? A welcome relief to the constant painful battle that is ‘living’.
Deafening darkness all around. So loud, I can’t hear anything else. So dark I can’t see anything. But it’s there. I can feel it, I can sense it. The darkness is heavy. It’s smothering. I can almost touch it. I can hold it off for a while but the fight leaves me weary and exhausted. I just want to close my eyes, just for a moment. But I am afraid that if I do close them – I will never be able to awaken from its embrace. I want to hide. But there is no where to hide.
I see happy go lucky and carefree people around me. Why me? What’s wrong with me that I can’t be lighthearted and fun loving?
I see the sun’s light but it feels cold and damp on my skin. The stench of darkness consumes me. It hurts to breathe. The darkness beckons. It promises relief. Solace. The pain will stop. The pressure will cease.
God where are you? Please help me. Save me from this relentless persecution. This barrage of attacks.
I cover my ears but I can’t drown out the sound. The deafening silence. It is never going to stop is it? I will always be alone in this darkness. Alone, tormented by the agents of darkness. They are closing in. In my mind is a battle. Outside of me the battle is echoed. The sneers, the jeers, the looks the isolation.
A glass of wine. Then another. My body starts to relax. I can breathe without pain. More alcohol. One too many, and I am too incapacitated to fight. I am on the top floor and I can’t resist the pull of death. I surrender. Sweet release. I exhale. I let go. I am 17 and I jump. I don’t remember a thing the next day. But the limp and the words of anger from those around me reveal what happened. They don’t want to be around me. I scared them.
I scared myself. The allure of death was so strong that I attempted to kill my self while blacked out. I am angry. I don’t want to die. It was their fault that I gave in to my demons. Them, the people that reject, ridicule, judge, condemn and assault me. It’s hard enough to fight the unseen demons while fighting my brothers and sisters around me. This wasn’t the first time that death had come calling. But it is the first time I was blacked out when I made an attempt on my life.
But “they” are not really my enemy. The real enemy is named in the Bible in 1 Peter 5:8.
In the days following this event, I chose to live out of spite. Today I live out of faith.
I was 12 when I first tried. I was a Christian but not yet a believer. Silently I took all the pills I could find and went to bed. I can’t give you any precipitating events. Perhaps it’s the face of evil that I saw at a young age. Evils caress on my childish innocence. It forever changed me. It continues to haunt me.
Why did He save me when others succeed at killing themselves?
I don’t know.
What took the desire to ever try again even when the darkness has persistently pursued me?
I can’t say. The power of the cross?
Why now and not then?
I don’t know.
Is it real?
Am I scared that I will reach that point again.
How can I be so sure?
As sure as I am that Christ is alive.
When I hear the question, how can a believer kill him/herself, I hear, “how can a believer sin?” Why would the suicide or the sin of a non-believer make more sense? The difference between a believer and non-believer is their profession of faith or lack thereof (Romans 10:9). This profession is credited to them as righteousness (Genesis 15:6) but this righteousness does not exist within them but outside them in the person of Christ (Philippians 3:9). We are still sinners with sin within and all around us (Romans 3:24). We are no better than non-Christians (Romans 12:3). All our righteous acts are but filthy rags (Isaiah 64:6). We have sin that we are aware of and sin that we are not aware of (Psalm 19:12).
Suicide breaks my heart. And while all experiences are unique I can speak from my own experience and my attempt and I can say I can see how easy it is to make that decision. I am alive today because He saw fit to preserve my life not because of anything I did.
Three times I tried to kill myself. Three times He allowed me to live. Others He allowed to die.
I am afraid of the darkness. I can’t fight the darkness. But I don’t have to. But it’s only by His grace and His sanctification and the growth that He has allowed and enabled that I can say this today. It is not my wisdom. I believe in His love because He allowed me to. I am nothing, unworthy and undeserving of the love and grace He showed me and continues to show me. Unworthy of the gift of life that He has allowed me.
I am eternally grateful. Maybe one day the darkness will overwhelm me in the same way that cancer overwhelms some – I don’t mean this to say I will kill myself but there are times that I fear the darkness will take my mind. If that happens – into His hands my spirit will be committed (Luke 23:46).
I will not fear the one that can destroy my body but not touch my spirit (Matthew 10:28). And for those that fall. I am crying for you . I am Sorry.
Paraphrasing from Joni Eareckson Tada – “since He has spared my life I will trust Him to show me how to live it.”
Oh Lord pierce the darkness. The darkness that enshrouds your people. Give hope to the hopeless and compassion to those around them. May we, who see the light clearly be an inviting light to those that can’t see it. May they reach out, may we embrace and love even when we don’t understand. May we be your hands and feet. Give us discernment and wisdom. May we love like you.