By Justin Rossow
The topic of Robin Williams and suicide is trending today on social media. Not surprising after the shocking news.
This Facebook post from a pastor friend captures both the sorrow and the invitation near to my heart today. We grieve with those who grieve, and want to love and support those who feel so overwhelmed.
The sudden and tragic death of comedian Robin Williams has shocked us all. Not only that he died, but how he died – the very real possibility it was suicide.
What many don’t know about my life is that I tried to take my life three times – I don’t mean I thought about, I was in the act three times. I understand the demonic logic that seems so right in those moments of pain and desperation where the only way out of the hurt is taking one’s life. I ache for Robin Williams and the pain he was feeling, now the catastrophic pain his family and all those that love him are feeling. Please join me in prayer for Robin’s family and those affected by his death as well as, all those that have tragically encountered death by suicide of a loved one.
Also, if you are hearing the whispers of suicide and the lure of the lie is starting to make sense, please talk with someone today – know that you are loved, your life matters and there is another option. I stand before you today as a witness that healing can happen, hope can rise from the ashes of our broken and crushed souls and God can fill your heart with love, life, laughter and joy.
Yet there seems to be more to the story. A deaconess friend of mine posted this on her timeline:
I don’t know anything about Robin Williams’ faith life, but I do know of many faithful Christians who battle depression, and I know at least one who succumbed to this illness after a long battle. It is NOT a lack of faith that causes depression. Please stop implying that if only people battling depression knew Christ or had a stronger faith, their battles with depression would be over. This notion is simply false and bad theology to boot.
Her words are a sobering reminder that faith in Jesus isn’t a magic fix for any problem, let alone the complexities involved in depression. Jesus promises ultimate victory, but, until the New Creation, that ultimate victory remains a promise for most of us most of the time. We have the beginnings of the fulfillment now, by faith; the ultimate fulfillment awaits the Ultimate Victory on the Last Day.
Jesus has defeated sin, death, and the the devil. And Jesus doesn’t magically take suffering away. But He does dare to join us in that suffering.
If you know the darkness of depression in your family or in your personal life, don’t despair of your faith; cling to the One who clings to you, even when everything seems beyond hope.
Jesus holds on to you in suffering. Jesus holds onto you in mental illness. Jesus even holds onto you in death, and–maranatha!–beyond.
With all the suffering we pray: Come, Lord Jesus.