IT was startling and saddening to hear that my next-door neighbor had committed suicide. I thought back to the times we had chatted when I passed his house. Often in the warm weather he would be outside, working on the lawn or garden. Invariably, we'd both stop and exchange a few words. I wondered now if I could have been a better neighbor. I made a resolution to be more sensitive to the needs of others and to offer help in practical, tangible ways. My neighbor's death made me think more deeply about suicide itself and why people choose it as a way out of trouble. It made me realize that the Bible, with its healing, comforting message, offers immediate help that can prevent such a tragedy.
Does it seem sometimes that our troubles are overwhelming, with no solution in sight? Perhaps loneliness or guilt, pain or fear, seem more than we can bear. But what do the Scriptures say? ``The Lord also will be a refuge for the oppressed, a refuge in times of trouble. And they that know thy name will put their trust in thee: for thou, Lord, hast not forsaken them that seek thee.''1
Through prayer we can find that there is always a way out of distress. Always a healing solution. If we don't see a way out, we may need to turn more humbly to our Father-Mother God. We may need to listen more faithfully, more patiently, for healing ideas from infinite Mind. Our God is ever with us and is eternally embracing us in love. We can learn to trust God's care, to realize it as spiritual fact, and thereby see the way out of trouble.
Of course, communing with God in prayer may not always seem easy. If we're constantly rehashing the problems we face or endlessly weighing the options before us, we're not likely to hear divine impulsions. Listening to God in prayer entails quieting fear and human will. When our thought is still and receptive, we can discern the spiritual ideas that divine Mind is revealing. We hear God, not with our ears but with inspired thought, with our spiritual sense.
Christian Science, in harmony with the Bible, teaches that each of us is actually the image, or expression, of God. This is our genuine, spiritual nature, which is inseparable from Deity. Though we seem to be physical and finite, and separate from God, this is a false picture drawn by the physical senses. Inspired prayer reveals who we really are: God's own.
We can't truly get away from God's presence. Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, writes: ``Remember, thou canst be brought into no condition, be it ever so severe, where Love has not been before thee and where its tender lesson is not awaiting thee. Therefore despair not nor murmur, for that which seeketh to save, to heal, and to deliver, will guide thee, if thou seekest this guidance.''2
Do we assume sometimes that death will bring us instant and everlasting peace? What a mistake! The Bibleclearly indicates that heaven, harmony, is reached through righteousness, through right living. By loving God and obeying His law we can find peace here, right where we are.
Mrs. Eddy says, ``The sin and error which possess us at the instant of death do not cease at that moment, but endure until the death of these errors.''3
We can cherish Christ Jesus as our Way-shower. He taught us how to find life and peace in God. Jesus never thought of death as a solution to life's problems. He challenged death and overcame it through consecrated trust in Life, God.
Hear the Master's own words: ``I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.''4
If life seems to be an unbearable burden, we can find freedom in greater dedication to Christly living. We can learn to be better followers of the Master. Pondering Jesus' teachings, especially the Sermon on the Mount, we will find ways to be more Christlike. Our God-centered living will inevitably bring peace.
Then the thought of suicide will no longer be a temptation. No matter how difficult things get, we'll persist in finding comfort and healing in God. We'll discover, through prayer, that our purpose for being is to express the joy of divine Life.
1Psalms 9:9, 10. 2The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany, pp. 149-150. 3Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 290. 4John 8:12.
You can find more articles like this one in the Christian Science Sentinel, a weekly magazine. DAILY BIBLE VERSE: The Lord is faithful, who shall stablish you, and keep you from evil. II Thessalonians 3:3