Tag Archives: Trust God

Suicide

This morning a friend asked me to address suicide and my thoughts on this topic.

It’s a very personal topic for me.

My niece took her life several years ago and the thoughts of her are still near to all of us.  Suicide leaves questions for those have chosen it and for us left behind.

Why did they do it?  Was their life that bad?  How could they leave us like that?  And for us left behind, will the pain ever diminish?

As one author described it “suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem.”  If only they had asked for help, if only they had waited till morning, if only…..but all we have are unanswered questions that leave us empty and hurting.

And, in the area of faith and eternity these questions arise,

Is suicide a sin?

Can someone who commits suicide be forgiven?

Many have written that this is an unforgivable sin because we don’t have an opportunity to repent of it.  It’s a final choice, taking our lives into our own hands, leaving us no opportunity to repent.

One wrote that this situation leaves the person without forgiveness…doomed.

But let me address this topic in light of what Jesus did on the cross.
(Let me make clear that I’m speaking in reference to a Christian who would take their life.  If we are speaking of a person who hasn’t trusted Christ we have a completely different discussion to work on.)

Here are a series of questions that will help us get to some basic answers, are you ready?  (If you want all the scripture references do ask, but I’m leaving them out for the sake of brevity.)

1. When Jesus died on the cross how many of our sins did he die for?  If you know the bible the answer has to be “all of them”.  (Do you remember his last words? “It is finished.”  The total price was paid….it’s called “grace”.)

Hebrews tells us Christ died “once for all.”  (7:27, 10:10, 12, 14) What that means is that he made one sacrifice for all men, for all time, for all sins.

2. Now, if he died for all sins, when he died how many of your sins were still future?  If you’re thinking you have to respond, “all of them!”

3. So, when you trusted him as savior how many of your sins did he forgive?  You can see where I’m going, can’t you?  Again, you will have to reply, “all of them!”

I’m sure you are asking what does this have to do with suicide?  But be patient, we will get there….you can’t deal with such a difficult issue so easily.

One person wrote that when you commit suicide you don’t have a chance to repent and they are right, but based on what I have asked you already, what does repentance have to do with forgiveness?

Did you understand the implications of what I just asked?  IF you have trusted Christ then all your sins, past, present and future are forgiven already.  All of them!  Even my last choice of taking my own life.

Some will quote 1 John 1:9 in this discussion.  I’ve heard it many times as a response to grace, but read this verse in context and you will see it’s a once for all verse-  “he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from ALL unrighteousness.”

1 John 1:9 fits perfectly with what we have discussed already.

Repentance is important, but it’s a response to forgiveness, not a way of getting it.  Forgiveness was done at the moment you trusted Christ.  Repentance is the right response on my part to sin and deals with my relationship with God, not my forgiveness.

Am I giving approval to those thinking about suicide? Not at all!

God forbid!

It’s a sad, terrible, painful choice that scars those left behind….but for the one who has chosen, in that dark moment, to take their own life and not trust God with the days ahead, they will still find themselves with the Lord, forgiven of sin, regretting their final choice to not trust God with the situation they faced.

Is a Christian who commits suicide forgiven and in heaven? YES!

Do they regret their choice? YES!  Because, in light of eternity, they realize they didn’t wait to see what God could do with their terrible situation.

I’m sure my niece wishes she could undo her choice, but she can’t and we live with the pain….missing her daily.

Are you thinking about taking your own life?  Please don’t!  Get help, tell someone, wait till morning…you will never regret the choice to trust God, but for the dear saint who is so broken that they sin and commit suicide you will see them in heaven.  And we will rejoice at a wonderful savior who provides all we need, even when our last choice is the worse one of all.

 

Visit Mike at Finishing Well.

God’s Plans…

In the last week our family has been praying for something very specific….sunset_sailing….it didn’t happen.Now comes the normal responses of all of us as we seek to know what God is doing…

I prayed, why didn’t he answer?

This was really important to me, how could he not do it?

Is there really a God at all if he doesn’t answer prayers like this?

How can I trust him when he knew how important this was?

Why pray at all if he doesn’t answer anyway?

I’m sure you could add a dozen other questions to this list that you have asked as the plans and prayers you hoped for didn’t come true, didn’t materialize.

What is God doing? What’s his plans for us?  How do we navigate this topic of prayer when often the things we ask for are very important to us?  Now what?  Can we trust him?  Should I even pray for things again since he didn’t answer this prayer?  Doesn’t he know how important this was to me?

The emotions of unanswered prayer are intense.  The hoped for expectations that are crushed by a prayer unanswered are confusing.  Now what? Where do we go from here?

There are often no words for the emotions that follow an unanswered prayer.  For me, after many years of knowing God, I realized that often my dreams and visions are not the best thing for me…and so I trust God for his plans, his directions….but it’s hard, isn’t it?  It’s hard when we asked, we wanted, we hoped…and he replies with silence.  Is he there at all?  Is he, as many say, the God of the deist…making it all and then walking away?  Unanswered prayers make us ask those questions…especially when he has invited us to ask!

The bottom line for all of this is simply this-  God loves us. God is sovereign and his love, his plans, and his wisdom direct our lives for his glory and our good.  It doesn’t mean we always get what we want…and that confuses us because we “know” that what we want is the very best thing….if only God would give us what we prayed for.

But often he doesn’t.  Now what?

Solomon wrote these words,

“The mind of man plans his way, But the Lord directs his steps.”
 
When God says “no” I come back to this…God loves me,He has my best in mind,

He has a plan for my life,

and he’s sovereign.

I can trust him to accomplish the best for me…..even when he says “no”.

In moments like this, when I don’t understand his “no” I go back to the verses that direct me when I don’t have answers…the verses that calm my confused and disheartened mind,
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart
  and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways submit to him,
    and he will make your paths straight.”

Waiting….

Waiting. It’s one of the hardest things we do. Waiting for answers, waiting for the phone to ring, waiting for someone to arrive. Waiting is loaded with expectations and anticipations. We are waiting for something, someone and things will change when the waiting is over.

Waiting is a pause in our lives, as if the picture is frozen on the screen and we wait for someone to once more push the play button. Waiting is hard.

Waiting involves the passing of time as we anticipate the thing, the one we wait for. Anticipation. Expectation. Frustration at times are all part of this thing called waiting. As I read Psalm 37 this morning, one of my favorite Psalms, it’s clear that God invites us to wait….to wait for Him. Several times in this chapter the invitation is given to wait for the Lord. There are good reasons for this. We conclude God is late, has gotten busy somewhere else, has forgotten us, but the truth is that we have simply missed God’s ways and timing and so we find we wait for the one who is never late.

“Wait for the Lord and keep his way” David writes. In this short phrase are the instructions for those of us waiting, while you wait walk with God until he arrives. The truth is he is always with us, never leaves us, but waiting involves a patience with God’s timing, God’s plans, God’s ways. It involves my choices to walk well while I wait.

“But those who wait for the Lord, they will inherit the land.” There is a reward for waiting. The reward is God’s business, but the waiting is ours.

There is a reason for the waiting. We may not always know what that is, but wait we must and trust God to work while we wait.

There is a rest in waiting. It means I have someone I’m trusting for what’s ahead and I dare not proceed until he arrives. It’s an awareness that I must not walk alone the road ahead, but wait for God to walk with me, to lead me and guide me.

 

There is a peace in waiting. It’s the realization that I wait for one who will accomplish all I wait for. The God who made heaven and earth asks me to wait for him. Why wouldn’t I? How would I dare proceed without him? Waiting for God is the most logical decision of all!

What are you waiting for? Direction? Answers to prayer? A job? Healing? Peace? God’s response to your waiting? “Rest in the Lord and wait patiently for Him; Do not fret….” In other words, don’t worry. God’s coming. He will sort it all out for you. Rest in him, relax, don’t worry, he’s coming….he’s never late.

Wait for the Lord.

 

Visit Mike at Finishing Well.

Trusting God

Ezra 8:21 Then I proclaimed a fast there at the river of Ahava, that we mighthumble ourselves before our God to seek from Him a safe journey for us, our little ones, and all our possessions. 22For I was ashamed to request from the king troops and horsemen to protect us from the enemy on the way, because we had said to the king, “The hand of our God is favorably disposed to all those who seek Him, but His power and His anger are against all those who forsake Him.” 23 So we fasted and sought our God concerning this matter, and He listened to our entreaty.

Ezra was an amazing man. He was a priest descended from Aaron and he had a passion for God, his word and sharing it with others. I know I would have liked this guy, but he got himself in a situation where he had to live out what he had told the king. He had to trust God because he had told the king that God would watch over him. Now, facing the trip back to Jerusalem, he is keenly aware of both his statement to the king and the dangers that lay ahead. This trip would travel the major trade routes of the day. Along these routes were pirates and thieves waiting to steal from anyone who didn’t have armed forces to protect them. It was a dangerous thing to travel in that day. Everyone knew that. But Ezra had told the king that God would watch over those who seek him so he had a decision- go back on his words about God or trust him.
Ezra decided that what he knew about God was too important to trust man, so they fasted, they prayed and off they went into the lion’s den this journey would be. No army to protect them, no swords to defend them, just a faith in God. Because of their faith they arrived safely in Jerusalem with their treasures of gold and silver untouched by thieves.
I wonder what the bandits and thieves saw as this troop of Jewish travelers passed them on the road. Did they see an army? Did God hide them from the view of those waiting to pounce on them? I don’t know, but what is known is that Ezra spoke of his trust in God and had to live that trust out in a very dangerous place. I love what Ezra did, he verbalized what he believed and that testimony was his benchmark for how he then had to live out the journey ahead. He was too embarrassed to go to the king and ask for troops to protect them because he said God would protect them.
What do I verbalize about God that then convicts me to live it out? Does my faith in him give words to my beliefs? Do I trust him enough to tell others what I believe and live it out? What a great example of a testimony lived out, to a faith walked through. This simple story challenges me to verbalize what I believe about God. Do I really trust God enough to talk about what I believe and then live it out even when its dangerous? I wonder.
Visit Mike at Finishing Well.

Suicide Bombers

You read about them daily in the news. They cause fear and devastation when they strike. Their tactics change lives forever, including their own. They are called suicide bombers.

It’s a recent term to describe a growing trend…people willing to destroy themselves to hurt others. Their beliefs are so strong that they are willing to give their own lives for their cause. They are called suicide bombers.

All around me are people I call by the same name. They are people who would never see themselves in this way, but they are…like the suicide bomber….willing to destroy themselves in their attempt to hurt and destroy their marriage, their mate and others. I call them suicide bombers.

They would tell me “I just want to be happy” and so they justify the decisions they make. In the process they destroy their home, their family and unknown to them they destroy themselves. I call them suicide bombers.

They look normal enough to those around them. They don’t have bombs strapped to their waist, but they are on a mission to destroy and they do. What they don’t realize is they will be part of the destruction that results. I call them suicide bombers.

In their attempt to control, cause fear, change their situation, rule another person they actually destroy their own life.

I got a call this morning about a suicide bomber in our midst. The story I heard would be funny if it weren’t so sad. In a rage a wife made a horrible choice and drove her car over her husband’s motorcycle….THREE TIMES! I call her a suicide bomber.

In her anger and rage at her husband, she destroyed her marriage, his motorcycle, and her own life as well. She may not realize it yet, but the one that was hurt the most was her.

She wouldn’t trust God to work, she wouldn’t wait for his timing, so she dealt with thisherself! Whatever her thoughts or motives she blew up her own life and destroyed everything around her.

How different is this from those with the real bombs around their waist? Their goal is to hurt, destroy and cause fear at the price of their own life.

The result? Chaos, destruction, hurt, death of marriages, homes demolished, lives in shambles. Who would be willing to do such things?

There is a certain insanity that comes with being a suicide bomber….whether you use explosives or your car, a car bomb or a divorce attorney, bullets or an affair the results are the same, lives are destroyed, homes are demolished, families blown up, lives forever changed. Most of all yours.

Suicide bombers don’t always need explosives to accomplish their task. Sometimes it’s as simple as sin having its way in a life. Always, in every case, destruction will follow. And the one hurt the worst? The suicide bomber himself.

Romans 6:21What benefit did you reap at that time from the things you are now ashamed of? Those things result in death! 22 But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life. 23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.