By Zac Minton
Twenty years ago I was about to go stay overnight with one of my friends. I was so excited.
Then it happened. My mom committed suicide.
The struggles were hard. The addictions were beyond belief. The way out seemed gone.
She didn’t always make the best decisions, but let me tell you she did make some good ones.
She took us to church. She decided against having an abortion so that I and my sister could live.
She would have us pray with her. She knew deep in her soul that Jesus brought hope.
I was with her at times when she would just want to stop the addictions but couldn’t. She would sit and weep because of the tensions.
Yet there were times when she would have us stop whatever we were doing to go out of our way to help people, spending the last money she had.
Just because someone struggles does not mean they don’t love Jesus.
I know the tears and have seen the agony of someone struggling with being a drunk, going to the store, spending money on more alcohol, and then driving home and throwing everything out the window because of the tension between doing what’s right versus what they still want to do.
When it comes to suicide, people have many opinions, but I want you to know we have a real enemy. He literally wants to destroy your life. As we’re exhorted in 1 Peter 5:8: “Be sober-minded, be alert. Your adversary the devil is prowling around like a roaring lion, looking for anyone he can devour.”
As a 13-year-old boy I thought I would never smile again. I remember sitting in a restaurant seeing people smile and getting mad that I couldn’t.
Know this: Help the ones people give up on. Love those who frustrate you. Share your struggles in order to share hope with people — not just hope of overcoming but the hope of true freedom found in Jesus.
Let us place the words of Heb. 12:1-2 in our hearts: “Therefore, since we also have such a large cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us lay aside every hindrance and the sin that so easily ensnares us. Let us run with endurance the race that lies before us, keeping our eyes on Jesus, the source and perfecter of our faith. For the joy that lay before him, he endured the cross, despising the shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”
I know the day of my mom’s suicide comes each year no matter what. It’s OK. It’s what God has given me to remind me there are many out there who need hope. Thank you, Jesus, for a reminder to help anyone and everyone I can.
As followers of Jesus we must realize that struggles and tensions are there. As the apostle Paul wrote: “We don’t want you to be unaware, brothers and sisters, of our affliction…. We were completely overwhelmed — beyond our strength — so that we even despaired of life itself. Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death, so that we would not trust in ourselves but in God who raises the dead” (2 Cor. 1:8-9).
Zac Minton is the founder and lead pastor of The Rock Church in Spokane Valley, Washington, and a North American Mission Board church planter.