Someone told me last week that when it rains it pours. Life can be hard even if life is for the most part good. When it is not so good we know that God can still be absolutely trusted.
I spent about half of last week at the Mayberry High School. They asked pastors to serve as grief counselors after the death of a high school senior that was a result of a self-inflicted gunshot wound. This young man was obviously tired and worn out. What is significant to note is that he was what most would call a “good kid.” He was active in school, well liked, he was a leader, worked a job, attended a UIL event the day before, he was a clean cut, nice looking kid. He had a girlfriend who he was taking to the prom in a few weeks. For some this doesn’t make sense, but taking one’s life is not about socioeconomics … that’s what makes this notable. We need to recognize depression is no respecter of persons.
Depression is a sickness just like any other illness and should be taken seriously and treated, not shamed or swept under a rug. There is a higher percentage of mainstream people than you might think that are affected by depression or experience anxiety at different times in their life, not necessarily clinical depression. But my point is a lot of us should be able to relate to others that are suffering. When people have a bad cold we encourage them to go to the doctor and get checked out — why the stigma for being heavy hearted?
Depression is not new, it’s in the Bible. Jeremiah was the weeping prophet; Elijah experienced both the highs and lows of serving God and the lows made him feel like he wanted to die; Jonah was bummed out and ready to give up the ghost and Jesus Himself was feeling a little anxious right before the cross, asking Abba Father if the cup could pass. My point is it’s OK to feel bummed out and if the feelings persist there is nothing wrong with any of us seeking some help. Like that bad cold, better safe than sorry.
I’m not a doctor I just play one on TV. But I do love people and I feel their pain and when they end their life we can have a lot of questions and sometimes feel guilty. It’s not a good feeling and the questions can’t be answered, therefore I would rather not experience this past week again. I’d rather people be treated and work towards living happy, productive lives with their hope in Jesus Christ. I don’t know a lot, but I do know there is hope and that weeping only remains for a night and joy comes in the morning … come on morning (Psalm 30:5)! He told me to tell you that.
Ken Ansell serves as a pastor in a small central Texas rural community. He is a local missionary and he fly fishes when he can.