(PART 1: DON’T FALL OUT WITH GOD)
I am certain that if those who committed suicide in the past one year were asked a few years ago whether they could ever commit suicide, their answers would be “Never!” Pathetically, they carried out the act. This was because in the course of their living, they were caught in life’s storms such as illness, persecution, unfulfilled dreams or desires, failures, rape, damaged reputations, bankruptcy, loneliness, debt, hardship, misfortune, bullying, lack, death of a loved one, injustice, false accusation, pressure from loved ones and peers, losses amongst others that overwhelmed them and made them give up on life. What a pity!
Life’s storms and challenges are real. However, there is nothing anyone can do concerning because they are a part and parcel of life and we must come across them. Nonetheless, there are things individuals could do to stay strong, safe and victorious in the times of storm.
In the next postings I shall be dealing with the various ways we can avoid falling victims of suicide. The Scripture warns: “He who thinks he stands should watch less he falls”. 1 Corinthians 10:12
DON’T FALL OUT WITH GOD
There are accounts of certain individuals in the Bible who committed suicide: Those who no one would have envisaged could do so based on their personalities, positions, achievements, endowments, and several other qualities. Yet, when they fell under certain situations, they couldn’t stand and gave up on life. Some of these individuals include Samson, King Saul, Ahithophel and Judas just to mention a few.
Samson’s birth was spectacular and divine (Judges Chapter 13). He was the only child of his parents and a Nazarine. He was blessed by God and empowered with the Holy Spirit which made him very strong and powerful with which he fought and did great exploits against the Philistines. He was a judge in Israel for twenty years. He first fell out with God in the wrong choices of the heathen women he fell in love which was against God’s-given instructions for him (Judges13:5, 8, 18, 34-35). He disobeyed God’s command concerning mixed marriage (Exodus 34:16; Deuteronomy 7:3). Mingling with idol worshipers and immoral people opened his life to satanic powers, delusion and to defeat (Judges16:19-21). His sacred hair locks were shaven and his eyes plucked out by the Philistines. He was rendered powerless and useless. Samson killed himself along with all the Philistines in the temple of Dagon (Judges16: 28-30).
King Saul was the first anointed king chosen by God to rule over Israel. He was a man of great physique and beauty and also a warrior (1 Samuel 9:2; 10: 23-24). He was anointed and empowered by the Holy Spirit to carry out his God-given assignment (1 Samuel 10:1, 9). He led the Israelites in many battles against their enemies and they won (1 Samuel 14: 47-49). His problem started when just two years of his reign, he disobeyed God despite Samuel’s warnings and the Spirit of God left him (1 Samuel 13: 13-14; 15:2-3, 18-19). He disobeyed God because he failed to acknowledge the Almighty God who put Him on the throne as the Great One who must be revered. He failed because he couldn’t see himself as the Lord sees him – His anointed one. He indirectly was fighting against God when he started fighting King David who was to succeed him. His consultations with the witch at Endor to call up the spirit of late Prophet Samuel showed how far he had wandered away from the Living God. And what he was told left him devastated. With this condition of heart, he went to battle where he was grievously wounded and also witnessed the death of his three sons. He killed himself by falling upon his own sword rather than allow himself to be taken as prisoner by the Philistines (1 Chronicles 31:1-4).
Ahitophel was a powerful counselor to King David and Absalom. He was so good at counseling that his counsel was said “to be as if a man had inquired at the oracle of God” (2 Samuel 16:23). However, he parted ways with King David and took side with Absalom against who was rebelling against God’s anointed King David his father. This was an indication of his fall out with God and when he saw that one of his counsels to Absalom was not followed, “he saddled his ass, and arose, and gat him home to his house, to his city, and put his household in order, and hanged himself and died” (2 Samuel 17:24).
Judas Iscariot was among the twelve disciples of Jesus and went places with Him for close to three years. He was the keeper of the group’s purse. He betrayed Jesus Christ on whom he collected twenty pieces of silver from the scribes and got Jesus Christ crucified! He later killed himself by hanging (Matthew 27:5).
How are the mighty fallen! It is tragic to see great men of wisdom and might, men who fought and won great physical battles loose to life’s battles by committing suicide.
From the above examples, we can see that staying strong and courageous in times of storms and coming out victorious is not dependent on having a godly family background. If it were, all those who committed suicide above would not have done so since they are all Israelites, God’s chosen people! They were believers in the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Physical human strength, power, beauty, experience or skill is not it either; if it were to so, Samson and King Saul’s wouldn’t have committed suicide. Overcoming life’s battles is not also depended on anointing, spiritual gifts, empowerment and the service one renders to God, if it were King Saul, Samson and Judas wouldn’t have committed suicide. Neither is it by old age, wisdom, position, and attainment in life, if it were to so Ahithophel and King Saul wouldn’t have committed suicide. If life’s battles could be fought and won with man-made weapons of war and human war strategies, then King Saul would have had victory over his life’s challenges! (Psalm 33: 16-19).
Accounts of People who overcame Life’s Challenges as seen in the Bible:
In the Bible also, are accounts of certain individuals who faced great challenges, difficulties, pains, and sufferings. These people weathered through them all and came out strong and victorious and lived to old age. Such people include Joseph, Job, King David, and Apostle Paul.
Joseph was from Jacob’s polygamous home of four wives and many children of whom twelve were males. Joseph was the eleventh son and his own mother died when he was very young. He was a good son and the father’s favorite. He must have learned about the God of Israel, the only true God of the whole universe from the mouth of Jacob his father. He was a dreamer whose dreams revealed he had a great future. He was greatly envied and hated by 10 of his brothers (Genesis 37:2-11). He was greatly antagonized by them and they eventually conspired against him and sold him into slavery as a seventeen-year old teenager (Genesis 37:4, 8, 18). He was taken to Egypt and was bought by Potiphar and served for thirteen years. While at Potiphar’s house, his master’s wife framed him up and was sent to prison unjustly (Genesis39: 9-12, 20). It was mentioned four times in Genesis 39: 2, 3, 21, 23 that God was with him. He languished in prison for three years until he was sent for by Pharaoh to come and interpret the dreams he had. Pharaoh made him Egypt’s prime minister. In all his challenges he remained steadfast and faithful to his God as seen in the names he gave his two children (Genesis 41:51-52). He believed God was in it all (Genesis 45:5-8; 50:20).
Job was a man who held God in the highest esteem as testified of God in Job 1:1. He was a wealthy man with seven thousand sheep, three thousand camels, five hundred yokes of oxen, five hundred she-asses and many servants. He had several children – seven sons and three daughters. Storms of life came and he lost everything in one day as revealed in Job 1:13-19.
His body was also under serious affliction (Job 2:7-8). He suffered greatly as he narrated in Job 7:3-6. As if all these were not enough, his wife came to taunt him be bitter and curse God (Job 2:9-10). His three friends too came and heaped blames and accusations on him. But in all, Job remained strong, bold, calm, committed, submissive and dependent on God. His statements in Job 13:15 and Job 19:25-27) revealed his steadfastness.
As a result of unwavering faith in God, he waited patiently until God restored unto him more than what he had lost (Job 42: 12-13).
This is an affirmation of God’s faithfulness to those who hold unto Him in faith “But the salvation of the righteous is of the Lord: he is their strength in the time of trouble. And the Lord shall help them, and deliver them: he shall deliver them from the wicked, and save them because they trust in him” (Psalm 37:39-40).
David was the youngest child of a large family. He was a shepherd. He probably was led to the Living God by his mother at a very tender age as he revealed in Psalm 22;9-10; 86: 16;116: 16. His Psalms revealed he made the Living God his personal God (Psalm 16:5; 73:26; 142:5). He could therefore refer to God with such sweet words as my God, my Shepherd, my Light, my Rock, my Strength, my Deliverer, my Fortress and much more. He most likely suffered neglect by his parents as a youth (Psalm 27:10). He narrated his near-death experiences while keeping his animals to King Saul to prove he could kill Goliath and attributed his ability to kill the animals to God’s help (1 Samuel 17: 34-37). His battle with Goliath was a miniature of his lifelong battle. He faced many battles and troubles in the hand of King Saul. Of his sufferings, he said “For all the day long have I been plagued, and chastened every morning” (Psalm 73:14). While waiting, with the help of God he slew Goliath and he became the darling of the people. Unfortunately, his fame brought him trouble with the king who became envious of him and wanted to kill him by all means. For nine years he passed through series of troubles, persecutions, and perils in the hands of King Saul and had to run away for his dear life. He became a fugitive, a wanted man and a wanderer. He suffered a lot yet he persevered in following God. After several years, King Saul his enemy died, and David was made king over Israel and became well renown. Many great nations fought against him in battle but he prevailed over them. However, his joy of ascension to the throne was short-lived for his own son Absalom overthrew his government. So, he had to hurriedly flee from the throne to save his life. He was later reinstated to the throne after the death of Absalom. Apart from all these, he was in many sore troubles, but in the face of it all, he endured and remained firm with God. Despite being surrounded by heathen nations and kings, not for once was he ever tempted to worship idols, not even mentioning their names with his mouth (Psalm 16:4). He was hopeful and at peace knowing only God’s purpose would prevail (Psalm 3 1-3). He knew of God’s great love and that God being a living God would hear and answer him when he calls so he prayed and waited patiently on God. Also known unto him was the fact that God maintains the cause and right of those who fear Him. God also shields, protects and vindicates those who trust Him. He is their refuge in times of trouble. Psalm 63:8; 56:3, “My soul followeth hard after thee: thy right hand upholdeth me.”
Knowing that many are the afflictions of the righteous but that the Lord delivers them from all and he was delivered as he testified in Psalm 55:18. He was not a super-man though as some of his Psalm revealed that at certain times, he was weak and weary too (Psalm 55:2-5 and Psalm 20; 1-2).
He came out of them all because his heart and focus was on his God (Psalm 16:8-11, Psalm 25:15, Psalm 123:1-2)
“I have trusted also in the Lord; therefore, I shall not slide. For the lovingkindness is before mine eye: and I have walked in thy truth (Psalm 26: 1b & 3)
He had an unshaken trust in God (Psalm 16:8-11, Psalm 25:15, Psalm 123:1-2). He made the Almighty God his focus. He made an irreversible choice to live in the consciousness of God’s presence always. (Psalm 62:5-7, Psalm 119:112).
To him, God is everything “He is the God of his life” (Psalm 42:8c).
Anyway, one does not expect anything short from a man who knew and trusted His God as seen in Psalm 46:1-3, Psalm 23:1&4 and Psalm 138:7-8. His statements showed that he had sound faith and knowledge of God and left his time in God’s hands because he was persuaded that God was capable of managing it well for him, Psalm 31:12(a) “My times are in thy hand”.
The strategy he used in maintaining a fixed heart and not allowing any situation or circumstances to destabilize him, was to seek the face of God in prayers. To worship God with thanksgiving and praises several times a day; to delight in the laws of God and to study God’s word.
Apostle Paul, more than any of the apostles had a hard and rough time in life after he had given his life to Christ. Some of the things he went through are written in 2 Corinthians 11:23-27.
He went further with his ordeals “we are hard pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed (2 Corinthians 4: 8). Is it not a wonder that He could refer to all his sufferings as light afflictions in verse 17?
He however remained steadfast to the end because he knew whom he believed (2 Timothy 1:12 and 2 Timothy 4:16-18).
To Him nothing can be compared to the knowledge of Jesus, our faithful Savior as Paul said in Philippians 3:8. He could, therefore, advise us to keep Jesus always as our focus in Hebrews 12:2.
From the lives of these latter set of people studied above, we see that they all had a personal relationship with God because they were Israelites and they were used by God. However, the former set of people who committed suicide fell out with God at one time or the other due to sins in their lives especially the sin of disobedience and greed. This happened because their hearts were not totally dependent and they were not intimate with Him and they didn’t know Him well enough.
Meanwhile, those who came out victorious over many life’s battles, staying strong and courageous remained abiding in God and had an intimate personal faith relationship with Him. They were committed, dedicated, trusting, determined, obedient, focused and worshiped God in all circumstances.
Dear Friend, how is your personal walk, dedication, and commitment with Jesus? How much of God do you know? How is your personal devotion, prayer and fasting life? Are you still in Faith? A lot of people confuse having a personal relationship with God with belonging to a church denomination, maintaining a relationship with their Pastors, church attendance, giving offerings and tithes, serving in one unit of the church and others. All these are good but having and maintaining a personal relationship with God goes beyond all these.
One enters into a personal relationship with God on repentance and embracing God’s gracious salvation through His son Jesus Christ. This is being born again. Maintaining a personal relationship with God implies developing in faith after being born again and remaining rooted and steadfast till the end of one’s life on earth as revealed in Colossians 2:6-7. To achieve this involves spending quality time alone in daily personal reading of the Bible, seeking His face in prayers, meditation and fasting. It also involves spending time in personal devotional worship in thanksgiving and praises and living in the consciousness of His presence every moment.
Not developing one’s faith and remaining steadfast is where many have missed it and have fallen out with God. Many, instead of holding onto God are holding to their pastors, parents, church building, academic/professional achievements, spiritual gift, physical and spiritual endowments, wealth and many others. All these are sinking grounds and cannot sustain in times of life’s storms and challenges.
Anyone that has embraced God’s salvation through Jesus is expected to remain abiding, be rooted, build up in Him, and be stabilized in faith in Him alone. Faith is the lifeline by which the saved persons, holds unto God under all conditions of life. Any departure from this is sin. God is the source and owner of life and it is expected of all to be totally depended on Him. This dependence on God is called faith. When Adam sinned, he stepped out of faith in God (God-dependence) into self-dependence (in-dependence) which is unbelief and they missed out of all the beautiful things of life. Faith is the way we come back into relationship with God through Jesus Christ and it is also the way we are to continue living till eternity. Having faith in God involves an exchange of self-trust for God-trust, that is we stop trusting in ourselves or others and trust Him alone totally.
God’s gracious salvation through His son Jesus Christ has given us victory over the world, Satan and the flesh. However, only those who abide in Him will continue to enjoy all of Jesus. It is very important we abide in Jesus the captain of our lives always as confirmed by Him in John 15:4-6.
All God’s promises of provision, protection, deliverance, long life, grace, and many others are only for those who remain abiding in God as Psalm 91 clearly reveals.
From the two groups studied above, we observe that those who remained abiding in God held on to life and continued receiving grace, help, strength and many others from God in times of trouble. To remain relevant and victorious we must remain with Jesus without letting go off Him. To remain with Jesus is to keep hanging on life’s line because Jesus is life and the source of Life. He is the reason for living. Without Jesus, life is stressful, meaningless, tiring, frustrating and hopeless. Don’t fall out with God.
If you have wandered away from God, it is never too late to return back to him. No matter how messed up your life is, come back to God your father as the prodigal son who wandered away from his father because of worldly pleasure did. God is calling you (Isaiah 1: 18-19).
Forsake everything that led to the former situations you were. “Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let them return unto the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon” (Isaiah 55:7).
If you are you have not yet come to God’s gracious salvation through Jesus Christ, come to Him now by taking these steps:
1) Admit you are a sinner. “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God. For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus our Lord” (Romans 3:23; 6:23).
2) Repent of all sins. “Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord” (Acts 3:19). “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).
3) Believe that God loves you and that Jesus His Only Son died for you. “But God commendeth His love towards us, in that, while we were yet sinners. Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8, Acts 10; 40&43)
4) Invite Jesus into your heart “Behold, I stand at the door, and knock; if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come unto him and will sup with him, and he with me” (Revelations 3:20).
LIFE IS VERY COMPLEX. YOU CANNOT MANAGE IT ALL BY YOURSELF. GIVE YOUR LIFE TO JESUS SO THAT HE WOULD HELP YOU LIVE WELL!
Kindly drop your comments or contact me if you have questions.
God loves you and so do I.