USA (MNN) — Kate Spade. Anthony Bourdain. The recent, tragic loss of these prominent figures to suicide has prompted a national conversation.
Ron Hutchcraft with Ron Hutchcraft Ministries says, “It’s pretty staggering [because] all of the sudden your nightly news programs, the lead story wasn’t North Korea. The lead story was not the White House. The lead story was suicide.”
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, suicide rates in the US went up by 25 percent from 1999-2016. Half the states even saw suicide rates increase over 30 percent.
A suicide epidemic in the United States is growing like a thick, dark cloud snuffing out the light of hope in the hearts of men and women, girls and boys, from every walk of life.
If this is your struggle, Hutchcraft has a deeply important message for you: “I wanted people to know why leaving is not the best option — living is the best option — and why you would choose living when you feel like leaving.”
You Hold Deep Value
“First of all, you need to consider your value,” Hutchcraft implores. “You are made in God’s image, God’s workmanship, God’s treasure, He says. You are not a paper plate that you discard. You are fine china — too valuable to throw away because of who made you.
“Your value is demonstrated [and] proven by the fact that God’s Son, Jesus thought you were worth dying for. You just don’t throw away something with that kind of value.”
An oft-quoted verse from the Bible illustrates God’s deep, abiding, raw love for you. John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”
If you insert your own name in place of “the world”, it makes this verse even more personal. “For God so loved [Your Name]….” You have inherent, priceless worth in God’s eyes and are loved more than you can possibly know.
Because of this, Hutchcraft says, “I know that Jesus loves you more than anybody could in ways you never dreamed, that Jesus can heal you at a level where no one else can heal you because He can go places in your heart no one else can go, and He can carry you when you can’t walk another step.”
You Have Dear Treasures
Another thing Hutchcraft encourages is to remember the beloved treasures in your life.
“I consider your treasures to be not the stuff you own but the people you love and the people who love you. I have actually heard people say, ‘They’ll be better off without me. I’m such a burden.’
“I have never known any loved one — I have hugged and held so many loved ones of people who did end their own life — and I have never known one who is better off because their loved one died that way.”
God Has Your Tomorrows
“God has tomorrows for you that you have not seen…. I have been on an airplane with a lot of turbulence that lasted for quite awhile and it was a little scary. People would react — some screamed, some were frightened, some grabbed somebody, some prayed, but nobody jumped out of the plane. And the reason they didn’t jump out of the plane is because they knew it was temporary and even though it shook us up, it was not the whole story. It was not the whole flight. We would come through that,” Hutchcraft shares.
“The fact is, the Bible tells us that our time is just part of a big thing called eternity where we’re going to be forever. At worst, this is temporary. So don’t throw away all your tomorrows. Don’t trash something of such great value. Don’t trash the people you love. Don’t trash the future, the tomorrows that God has planned for you.
“It’s always better to choose living [rather] than leaving.”
Jesus Feels Your Pain
The poignant chorus from Tenth Avenue North’s song “Hold My Heart” goes like this:
One tear in the dropping rain
One voice in a sea of pain
Could the Maker of the stars
Hear the sound of my breaking heart?
One life is all I am
Right now I can barely stand
If You’re everything You say You are
Would You come close and hold my heart?
This song speaks to the truth that Hutchcraft echoes: Jesus knows your pain. Let Him hold you.
“I think the most important hotline is to reach out to the one who has grieved more deeply than any human ever grieved: Jesus. He carried all of the sin and depression and despair and brokenness — not only all of yours but all of the world…. He carried all of that in His soul when He died on the cross, so much so that the Bible calls Him a man of sorrows, acquainted with grief,” says Hutchcraft.
“Therefore, [Jesus] is uniquely qualified to hear the cry of your heart and go where no one else can go and begin to heal the pain, to love you where you have not been loved, to give you a love that no human could have given you at best, [and] to give you a reason to live and a purpose to live for.”
If You Have Lost Someone…
Maybe your story is marked by the severe pain of losing a loved one to suicide. If so, Hutchcraft reflects, “I would say to someone who has experienced this horrible loss, it is terrible to lose someone you love. It is maybe, if possible, more terrible to lose someone you love who is young. Number three, it is really perhaps the worst to lose someone when they chose it themselves. It is a deep, deep, deep grieving.
“I was able to assure people through my own experience, not so much with suicide, but with grief and the broken heart of losing in a moment my lifetime love, my very best friend. Two years ago, my wife [who] I did my whole life with, suddenly my life [would] be without her.”
He shares, “What has sustained me in the greatest heartbreak of my life has been that wonderful promise in Psalm 34:18 that says, ‘The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and…saves those who are crushed in spirit.’ Let Him be close. Let Him into the depths of your grief and let Him begin to restore those holes in your soul that are there.
“He will then begin to turn — through a process — the darkest, most hurting moments in your life into compassion for a world of hurting people. We are surrounded by hurting people who are covering a deeply wounded life and a deeply wounded heart and maybe even a desperate heart with a facade of smiles and maybe success. Somebody needs to be there for them.”
God’s Word affirms this in 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 where the Apostle Paul writes: “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.”
Hutchcraft says, “When you allow Jesus to begin to turn your hurt into hope for other people, it not only provides some healing for them. You become a channel for God’s love into their wounds.
“Through credentials you wish you never had, you become now strangely, painfully, expensively credentialled to be one of the agents of God’s comfort in a hurting world.”
If you want to learn more about Jesus’ love for you and how you can share His love with others, Ron Hutchcraft Ministries has several resources for you. Click here to visit the ministry’s website.