A prayerful response to #StopSuicide

Many people have been using the #StopSuicide hashtag on social media to rally around national suicide prevention.

My daughter’s English class also addressed this topic when the students analyzed Langston Hughes’s succinct poem, “Suicide’s Note”: “The calm, / Cool face of the river / Asked me for a kiss.”

My daughter, a Christian Scientist, observed that by personifying the river, the poem suggests that the apparent allure of suicide does not originate with individuals, but comes first as a suggestion to their thought. The poem also expresses how suicide beckons with the possibility of retreating from one’s problems to a calmer place—but, like a charlatan, its promises are empty.

For those seeking a spiritual answer to assist in preventing suicide, the question naturally arises, “How can I pray effectively about this issue?”

It’s important to begin with an understanding that God, the one divine Mind, loves us and guides our thoughts to good outcomes: “I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end” (Jeremiah 29:11).

The idea that anyone’s mind can be irreversibly deceived by thoughts of death or destruction isn’t in line with this all-intelligent, all-loving, and peace-giving creator. Our relation to God is indestructible, and He is always present to guide us in a life-affirming direction.

Some years ago, a friend came to me one afternoon about some personal issues that had been troubling him. Through tears he told me that he wondered if God had forgotten about him and whether his life was worth living.

As he was talking, I reached out to God for a way to convey the comfort of the Christ to my friend. In fact, he told me that he wanted to understand God more in order to overcome his inner struggles. The Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, Mary Baker Eddy, wrote: “Mind that is God is not in matter; and God’s presence gives spiritual light, wherein is no darkness” (Miscellaneous Writings 1883–1896, p. 113).

I hugged my friend and we discussed how God is the light that extinguishes any hint of darkness (see I John 1:5), and how he was a cherished child of God. This meant that his whole being was full of light, so sadness and confusion were not a genuine part of his spiritual identity. I also told him that God could never see him as anything less than perfect and worthy of love. I knew that these spiritual truths were the comfort of the Christ, meeting his need in that moment.

After this, my friend felt more at peace. In the years that followed, he made a lot of progress in his life, including finishing school and starting a career.

We each can claim our inseparability from God’s thoughts—thoughts that give us “an expected end,” which also translates to “a future filled with hope—a future of success, not of suffering” (Contemporary English Version). The wisdom that is “from above” (James 3:17) brings healing solutions, and the possibility to #StopSuicide becomes more of a present reality.

Adapted from an article published in The Christian Science Monitor, September 9, 2016.

Adapted from an article published in The Christian Science Monitor, September 9, 2016.

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